• comScore's February 2010 Numbers Show Further Online Video Usage Declines

    comScore released its Feb '10 online video rankings yesterday, which showed the 2nd straight month of usage declines in aggregate and for many of the top 10 sites. Total video views came in at 28.1 billion, vs. 32.4 billion in January and 33.2 billion in December '09. As I pointed out in my analysis of comScore's Jan numbers last month, and as the chart below shows, in each of the last 3 years, the period from December to February has seen flat to slightly declining viewership.

    It's still too early in online video's evolution to form hard and fast conclusions about the impact of seasonality, but judging from the past 3 years it seems as though we're beginning to see the pattern. February is also a shorter month than either Dec or Jan, so this too plays a role in explaining the downward trend in viewership.

    As usual, YouTube was the most-used video site, generating 11.9 billion views, down from 12.8 billion in Jan and 13.2 billion in Dec. YouTube's share jumped up to 40% in Jan, marking almost 2 years that the site's share of the overall video market has been plus or minus 3 percentage points of 40% share, a remarkable achievement given the growth of other video sites.

    Hulu is one of those sites that achieved growth in Feb, increasing its video views to 912.5 million from January's 903 million, though both are down from the site's December record of just over a billion views. In Feb Hulu averaged 6.18 minutes viewed per video, the first time the site has been back up over 6 minutes since Sept '09. Hulu's audience came in at 39.2 million uniques, continuing to be stubbornly stuck around the 40 million mark for a full year. I've commented before that Hulu appears to be encountering a challenge broadening its user base. The deletion of the Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert programs will only make this challenge harder.

    As the chart above also shows, in the past 2 years March has been a month when viewership rebounded, setting the stage for growth over the following 9 months. We'll see whether the same pattern starts to play out next month.
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