Study: Online video booms, but MySpace viewers, videos drop

Google remains at the top, while Hulu is taking big strides, according to comScore

Online video consumption has skyrocketed in the U.S., and while Google remains safely at the top of the heap, entertainment-heavy MySpace ironically has seen a drop in unique viewers and videos served.

In November 2009, MySpace had 38.6 million viewers who watched 333.4 million videos, down year-on-year from 52.5 million viewers and 371 million videos, according to comScore figures.

This contrasts negatively with the monumental growth in the U.S. in general. In November 2009, 170.6 million U.S. residents watched almost 31 billion videos, an average of 182 videos per person, comScore said Tuesday. That's up from 146 million unique viewers and 12.7 billion videos, almost 87 videos per viewer, in November 2008.

When asked for comment, MySpace, which has traditionally had a strong focus on recording artists and entertainment in general, didn't dispute the comScore numbers, but pointed out that on a per user basis, its online video engagement is up.

For example, according to comScore, in November 2008 the average MySpace user watched 7.1 videos, while a year later the average user watched 8.6 videos, while minutes per viewer and minutes per video also grew significantly.

"Our user engagement numbers for video were higher than ever -- highly engaged users are staying on MySpace and watching more videos," MySpace said in an e-mailed statement.

Still, there is no getting around the fact that the overall trend is an increase in unique viewers and in videos watched, not a decrease in those two categories.

For example, Hulu took big strides in November 2009, growing its number of unique viewers from 22.5 million to 43.7 million, and its number of videos from 226.5 million to 924 million, speeding past MySpace in both categories. In the area of engagement, Hulu also shined: its average viewer watched 21.1 videos during the month.

Unsurprisingly, thanks to its YouTube site, Google served up 12.2 billion videos, almost a 40 percent share of the market. It had 129 million unique viewers, who watched an average of almost 95 videos each. That is up from 5.1 billion videos and 98 million unique viewers -- an average of 52.2 videos per viewer -- in November 2008.

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Juan Carlos Perez

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