Middle-Agers Help Hulu Grow 490%

May 18, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Broadcast & Cable | Media & Entertainment | Television

Though YouTube continues to rank as the #1 video web brand in the US, with 5.5 billion total streams in April, Hulu ranks #2 as it continues on a steep growth trajectory, increasing 490% in total streams year-over-year (YoY), from 63.2 million in April 2008 to 373.3 million in April 2009, according to data from Nielsen Online.

This explosive growth makes Hulu the fastest growing brand among the top 10:


“Historically short form, clip-length video has ruled streaming on the web – as demonstrated by YouTube’s top spot month after month,” said Jon Gibs, VP, media & analytics, Nielsen Online. “Hulu, along with pure-play providers like Veoh and the TV
networks, has spent the past two years trying to convince consumers that the internet can be a good place to watch full length programming as well. April’s strong showings of Hulu, Fox, and ABC suggest that consumers are beginning to listen.”

Middle-Agers’ Viewing More Video

The Nielsen analysis also found that the time spent viewing per viewer in April 2009 has grown 29% in the past six months among people ages 35-49, making it the fastest growing group in terms of time spent viewing per viewer. This growth is 13 percentage points higher than the growth of time spent viewing per viewer for the overall market, which increased 16% over the same 6-month period, Nielsen said.


“Despite what many believe, it is not the young, tech-savvy, early-adopters who are attracted to long-form video,” said Gibs. “In fact, we see that it is the older crowd, viewers 35+, who gravitate toward long-form video, with sites like Hulu acting as a perfect example of this.”

In April 2009, three of the top five sites – Hulu, ABC.com and NBC.com – ranked by time spent viewing among people ages 35 to 49were sites with long-form video. Compared with six months ago, only one of the top five was a long-form video viewing destination.


People age 35+ Drive 119% Hulu Increase

In their quest to view more long-form video, the middle-aged demographic is also helping to fuel a significant increase in time spent watching Hulu. Since its inception as a joint-venture between NBC and News Corp, Hulu has experienced meteoric growth in all aspects of video viewing, especially in time spent, Nielsen said.? Total time spent viewing increased 119% between November 2008 and April 2009.

As more people frequent Hulu and stream more videos, more time is also spent watching these videos, the research found. Time spent viewing per viewer increased 120%, from 147 minutes in November 2008 to 325 minutes in April 2009.

Unique viewers between ages 35 and 49 represented 30% of total Hulu viewers in April. They also spent at least 10% more time on the site than any other age group, with an average of 416 minutes spent viewing per viewer during the month.

During the past six months, overall time spent per viewer for those ages 35-49 has increased 154%.


“Hulu’s growth in time spent viewing illustrates that they are setting the pace in the video market. Although this growth has a lot to do with a good interface and excellent programming, Hulu’s aggressive marketing campaign, starting with their first TV ad at the Superbowl, seems to have given them a bounce that they haven’t yet fallen from,” saud Gibs.

About the metrics: Nielsen Online’s VideoCensus combines patented panel and census research methodologies to provide a count of viewing activity and engagement along with in-depth demographic reporting. Online video viewing is tracked according to video player, which can be used on site or embedded elsewhere on the Web. A unique viewer is defined by Nielsen as anyone who viewed a full episode, part of an episode or a program clip during the month. A stream is a program segment. VideoCensus measurement does not include video advertising.

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