Analysis for 'Hulu'

  • U.S. SVOD Adoption Up to 64% of Homes, With 29% Streaming Daily

    U.S. adoption of Netflix, Amazon Prime and/or Hulu is up to 64% of homes, an increase from 47% in 2014, according to Leichtman Research Group. Of those who have one of these SVOD services, 51% now have more than one of them, up from 35% in 2014.

    On our podcast last week, Colin and I talked about how the number of people taking multiple SVOD services has become a central trend in the industry and is helping spur growth for all providers. Both Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Netflix’s Reed Hastings have insisted over the years that people will take multiple services, and that appears to now becoming reality.

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  • Research: Subscriptions to OTT Services Aside From Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Remain Minimal

    Here’s a measure of how dominant the big three SVOD services (Netflix, Amazon and Hulu) are in the US: according to new OTT data from Parks Associates, just 5% of all broadband homes subscribe to one or more of the 98 SVOD services available in the US aside from the big three. Among the 98 services Parks counted are high-profile offerings like HBO Now, CBS All Access and Sling TV.

    At the end of 2015, there were approximately 96.3 million broadband homes in the US, according to Leichtman Research. So that would mean that about 4.8 million broadband homes were subscribing to one or more of the 98 SVOD services outside of the big three. Parks did not specify the actual subscriber levels of any of the 98 SVOD services.

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  • Research: SVOD Penetration in U.S. Passes 50%

    New research from Pivotal Research Group, based on Nielsen data, reveals that at the end of February, 2016, SVOD services were in over 50% of U.S. TV households, up from 43% in February 2015. The SVOD services included are Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu.

    No surprise, Netflix is by far the most popular SVOD service, in 45% of U.S. homes (up from 38% a year ago), followed by Amazon Prime in 21% of homes (up from 15% a year ago) and then Hulu in 10% of homes (up from 7% a year ago).

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  • Why SVOD Services Are At Risk Of Being Downgraded by Consumers to Transactional VOD

    Research released late last week by Parks Associates, which revealed high levels of churn for many smaller SVOD services, reinforced for me that many of these services are at risk of being seen as little more than transactional VOD opportunities by consumers. If this occurs it would have huge implications for both the SVOD services and larger ecosystem.

    First, to review the research, Parks found that for SVOD services other than Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, the churn rate over the past 12 months was equal to 60% of those who subscribed to such services. For Hulu Plus, 7% of U.S. broadband subscribers cancelled their subscription in the past 12 months (equaling churn of half or more of Hulu Plus’s subscribers). Parks estimated Amazon’s churn at around 25% (though that’s clouded by value of the overall Prime service). Only Netflix fared well, with churn in the past 12 months running around 9% of its subscriber base. Note, none of these SVOD services publicly disclose their churn rates.

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  • Roundup of Super Bowl Data: Ad Viewing, Streaming and Social Activity

    Super Bowl XLIX will go into the books as one of the most exciting ever, full of unexpected twists and turns, right up until the last few seconds of the game. Importantly, the Super Bowl experience continues to change, with streaming, extended online ad viewing and social sharing. Below I've rounded up the most relevant data I could find about these trends. If I've missed anything, please let me know.

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  • Study: Netflix Dominates Wired Internet Usage, YouTube Tops on Mobile

    Sandvine has released its latest Global Internet Phenomena Report based on data collected in March, 2014 across leading wired and mobile broadband networks. Focusing just on North America, Netflix once again dominates primetime usage, accounting for 34.9% of downstream bandwidth, more than the next 6 services combined. YouTube was second with 14.04% of bandwidth.

    It's a different story on mobile however, where YouTube remains the top downstream provider, eating up 19.75% of bandwidth, up from 17.7% a year ago, with Netflix in 5th place with just 4.51%.  The usage pattern largely reflects the difference between Netflix's long-form content focus vs. YouTube's short-form focus. YouTube's CEO Susan Wojcicki recently disclosed that 50% of YouTube's usage is now on mobile.

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  • Does Strong SVOD Adoption in Wealthier Homes Suggest Slower Subscriber Growth Ahead?

    At starting prices of $8/month or so, affordable subscription video on demand (SVOD) services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, Blockbuster and others would seem to appeal to middle and lower income Americans. But a new report from Nielsen finds the exact opposite is true: wealthier homes, with household income over $100K/year, adopt SVOD services at 185% of their index, while lower income homes, with household income under $50K/year, subscribe at just 47% of their index.

    Adding to the picture, "Professional" homes subscribing to an SVOD service are at 150% of their index, while "Blue Collar" homes are just 63% of their index.

    The data seems to support a contention that Netflix has repeatedly made, which is that SVOD services are typically adopted in addition to - not in substitution for - pay-TV services. To the extent that pay-TV rates have continue to increase, it makes sense that only upper income homes can afford to then layer on an SVOD service on top of pay-TV.

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  • Netflix's 2 Billion Streaming Hours in Q4 Blows Away Competitors

    Netflix subscribers appear to be spending far more time viewing the service's streaming content than do users of any other online video destination. According to new data Netflix released today, its 20 million subscribers consumed 2 billion hours of streaming TV shows and movies in Q4 '11. Using simple averages, that would mean each subscriber streamed 100 hours during the quarter, or approximately 2,000 minutes per month (about 33 hours). That's roughly 4 1/2 times the level of YouTube's time spent/viewer. According to comScore, YouTube, which dominates total monthly volume of online video, had approximately 151 million U.S. users in November, 2011, who viewed 444.5 minutes each, on average.

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  • comScore: YouTube's Time Per Viewer In May Tops 5 Hours, More Than Next 5 Sites COMBINED

    comScore released its May 2011 U.S. online video rankings today which once again illustrated the extent to which YouTube remains the 800-pound gorilla of the online video market. For the first time, YouTube's time spent per viewer during the month exceeded 5 hours, coming in at 5 hours, 11 minutes. That reflects nearly 2.2 billion viewing sessions generated from over 147 million unique viewers (83.5% of all Americans who watched any online video in May).

    Looked at another way, YouTube's 5 hours, 11 minutes of viewership is more than the next 5 properties ranked had during the month, combined. The number 6 property, Microsoft's sites, had 46.5 million visitors for the month, less than a 1/3 of YouTube's, and 252 million viewing sessions, just 1/9 of YouTube's (see below). Hulu is the only property remotely close to YouTube in viewing time per user, racking up 3 hours, 38 minutes per viewer in May from 196 million viewing sessions. But Hulu had 28.5 million unique viewers in May, less than 1/5 of YouTube's.

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  • 5 Items of Interest for the Week of Nov. 15th

    After a short break, VideoNuze's Friday feature of curating 5-6 interesting online/mobile video industry news items that we weren't able to cover this week, returns today. Read them now or take them with you this weekend!

    Time Warner Cable Experiments With Lower Tier Video Package
    It's a rare day when a cable operator announces a lower-priced offering, but that's what Time Warner Cable did yesterday, unveiling a test of what it's calling "TV Essentials." The new tier, priced between $30-$40, will most notably exclude ESPN, the most expensive channel in the cable universe, meaning right away TV Essentials isn't targeted to sports fans. I've argued for a while now that pay-TV operators have ceded the low-priced/value-oriented end of the video market to Netflix (and others), which given the ongoing recession is a mistake. It will be interesting to see how the new bargain service fares; 2 things that will limit its appeal though are that no channels will be offered in HD, and that it appears those with broadband Internet and telephone services won't benefit from typical package discounts.

    Nielsen study: We're still a nation of couch pumpkins

    More evidence this week that despite all the deserved enthusiasm over online and mobile delivery, good old-fashioned TV viewing still rules in terms of hours of consumption. Nielsen said that the average person watched 143 hours of TV per month in Q2, essentially flat vs. a year ago. For homes with DVRs, hours of time watched on them nudged up a bit to about 24 1/2 hours. On a related note, this week comScore released its online video viewing data for October, which showed average viewing of 15.1 hours per person. While online video has made huge progress in the last few years, it still has a ton of room to grow to catch up with TV.

    More Videos Ads, More User Acceptance
    Speaking of the comparison between online video and TV, this week brought some interesting new data on monetization patterns for premium online video. Online video ad manager FreeWheel released data that showed mid-roll ads are the fastest-growing category of ads (up 693% since Q1), and now represent 8% of its ad volume. Completion rates have increased for pre, mid and post-roll ads this year, but notably mid-rolls have the highest completion rate, at 90%. FreeWheel's conclusion is that monetization of premium online video is starting to look a lot like TV, with ad pods inserted throughout. Going a step further, if viewer acceptance of mid-rolls stays high, then this represents a valuable opportunity for TV networks in particular to combat DVR-based ad-skipping.

    Startup Claims To Have Set-Top Hulu Can't Block
    It was inevitable that Hulu's decision to block access to its programs would set off a game of whack-a-mole, with various devices springing up to do end-arounds. Sure enough, the $99 Orb TV debuted this week, prominently positioning itself as the device that can bring Hulu (among other content) to your TV. One catch is that Orb streams video from your computer and only does so in standard definition. It addresses the "keyboard in the living room" challenge by also including a smartphone app to control the device. It's not a perfect solution, but it does provide a glimpse into the PR-unfriendly dynamic that Hulu, and the broadcast networks, have created for themselves by blocking access to their content by Google TV and others. No doubt there will be plenty more Orb-like devices to come to market in the months ahead, all positioning themselves as solving the blocking problem.

    Comcast's Top Digital Exec Amy Banse to Open New Silicon Valley Equity Fund for Cable Giant and NBC
    As Comcast enters the final stages of approval for its NBCU deal, the company this week announced a new NBCU management structure. One item that wasn't formally announced yet, but was reported by AllThingsD earlier this week was that Amy Banse, formerly head of Comcast Interactive Media (now headed by Matt Strauss), will be heading to Silicon Valley to run the combined operations of Comcast's current Comcast Interactive Capital venture arm, and NBCU's current Peacock Equity (a JV with GE). With all the distribution, technology and content assets that will be under the Comcast roof, the fund will be at the top of any online/mobile video startup's list of strategic investors. I've known Amy for a while and have enjoyed having her on industry panels; she'll be a huge asset to Comcast in the Valley venture world.
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  • 5 Items of Interest for the Week of Sept. 27th

    It's Friday and that means that once again VideoNuze is featuring 5-6 interesting online/mobile video industry stories that we weren't able to cover this week. Have a look at them now, or take them with you for weekend reading!

    Nielsen Unveils New Online Advertising Measurement
    comScore Introduces Digital GRP `Overnights` in AdEffx Campaign Essential
    Dueling initiatives from Nielsen and comScore were announced on Monday, aimed at translating online usage into comparable TV ratings information, including reach, frequency and Gross Ratings Points (GRPs). While online video ad buying is ramping up, the tools to measure viewership in a comprehensive way have been lacking. This is one of the main issues holding back content providers from participating in TV Everywhere. 

    Analyst: Cord-cutting fears overblown
    New research shared this week by BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield concludes that less than 8% of the market is actually interested in cord-cutting. The big impediment: losing access to sports and cable programming, which is unlikely to migrate to free over-the-top alternatives. Greenfield's conclusion is that cord-cutting isn't a major threat to pay-TV operators over the next 3-5 years. Notwithstanding the research, another factor I'd point to that could tip cord-cutting the other way is consumers' belt-tightening. Much as nobody wants to lose access to programming, if the price is perceived as too high, they'll make compromises.

    Why YouTube Viewers Have ADD and How to Stop It
    Abandonment rates for online video have always been a concern, and using new research, Visible Measures CMO Matt Cutler now quantifies the behavior. Expect 20% of the audience to drop out within 10 seconds of hitting play, 33% by the 30 second mark and 44% by 60 seconds in. Pretty sobering data but incredibly important in thinking about content creation and monetization.

    Networks Have Sharing Issues With Hulu
    Hulu's New Hoop
    On the one hand, Hulu's network partners, ABC, NBC and Fox are reportedly pulling back ad inventory that Hulu is allowed to sell, yet on the other, Hulu is reportedly out aggressively selling ads in Hulu Plus, its subscription service. Meanwhile this week Hulu also announced that Hulu Plus will be accessible on both Roku devices and TiVo Premiere, as it continues chasing Netflix in the subscription game.

    The New Apple TV Reviewed: It`s All About the Video
    Apple TV devices started shipping this week, and reviews began popping up all over the web. This mostly positive review indicates that the user experience is solid, but that content selection is still skimpy. That's no surprise given how few deals Apple has struck to date. Yet to be seen is how Apple TV performs when it can access other iOS apps.
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  • YouTube Surges to Almost 15 Billion Views in May

    comScore has released its May online video rankings and at the top of the list, as usual, is YouTube. In May it racked up a record 14.6 billion video views, up 11.5% from April. YouTube's market share actually dipped slightly in May, to 43..1%, still its 3rd-highest monthly share since comScore began releasing this data in Jan '07. Total video views were also at a record high of 33.9 billion views in May.

    The chart below shows how remarkable YouTube's growth has been since Jan '09. YouTube has more than doubled its monthly views from 6.3 billion. Meanwhile, YouTube's market share has hovered right around 40% each month, with its lowest level at 37.7% in Oct '09 and its highest of 43.5% in April '10. YouTube is generating more than 10 times the monthly views it was when Google acquired it.

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  • Total Video Viewership Down Slightly in April; YouTube Share Jumps

    comScore has released its new online video rankings for April '10 which show total videos viewed of 30.3 billion, down almost 3% from the prior month's 31.2 billion. As a result, YouTube, which was roughly flat in April at 13.1 billion videos, saw its market share increase to 43.5%, its highest level since July '08. It was also YouTube's second highest share since I started tracking the comScore numbers in Jan '07 (when YouTube had a relatively paltry 16.2% market).

    The 3% decrease in total videos from March '10 to April '10, compares with a 5% decrease from March '08 to April '08 and a 16% increase from March '09 to April '10. While it's hard to discern any trends around these 3 year numbers, one thing worth noting is that over the last 6 months, with the exception of blips up in Dec '09 and Jan '10, total video views have stayed relatively stable right around 30 billion. I'm not sure exactly what to conclude from that, but I'll certainly be watching the coming months to see if viewership is flat-lining or just taking a breather.

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  • Online Video Viewing Rebounds in March According to comScore; Hulu Performance is Mixed

    Online video viewing rebounded to 31.2 billion total streams in March '10 according to comScore's newly-released numbers. The March total marks an 11% increase in streams over February's 28.1 billion. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, it also continues a leveling-dipping-rebounding pattern that has occurred in the Dec-Mar months for the last 2 years as shown in the chart below. If the pattern holds, we'll see strong growth for the next 6 months or so.

    As always, YouTube was the top video site by a wide margin. In March it notched 13.1 billion views, up 10% vs. February's 11.9 billion. Its share was down just slightly to 41.8% from February's 42.5%. Still, it was the 21st consecutive month that YouTube's share has been plus or minus 2-3 percentage points of 40%, a remarkable run.

    Hulu also bounced back strongly in March, recording its best month to date with 1.070 billion streams, up 7.5% vs. February's 912.5 million. But with Hulu viewers averaging 156 minutes, the minutes per viewer in March actually slipped to 5.84 from 6.18 in Feb. Hulu's average minutes has stayed stubbornly around 6 minutes for over a year now. In addition, total unique viewers came in at just over 40 million. As I've pointed out in the past, Hulu's viewership has been stuck around the 40 million mark now for a year. Absent a radical change, it seems that neither one of these metrics will break out of their respective range any time soon.

    Lastly, on the ad network site, Tremor Media, which earlier this week announced a $40 million financing, saw its reach increase to 96 million viewers.

    What do you think? Post a comment now (no sign-in required).
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  • 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.
    What do you think? Post a comment now (no sign-in required).

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  • VideoNuze Report Podcast #55 - April 2, 2010

    Daisy Whitney and I are pleased to present the 55th edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for April 2, 2010.

    This week Daisy and I first discuss my post from this past Monday, "New comScore Research Available; More Ads Tolerable in Online TV Programs" (the post also includes a link for a complimentary download of the research presentation). Among other things the research concludes is that viewers of online-delivered TV programs could tolerate 6-7 minutes of ads which is approximately double the typical current ad load.

    I have argued for some time that the ad load in online programs is way too light and that it was jeopardizing the broadcast networks' P&Ls, particularly as convergence devices allow online video viewing directly on TVs. Coincidentally, this week the CW Network announced that it would double its ad load next TV season. And Hulu, though announcing this week that it has been profitable for the past 2 quarters, is under continued pressure by its content partners to increase its ad load to generate more revenue (recall that Hulu recently blocked the new Kylo browser, which I asserted was due to concern about cannibalizing audience and ad dollars from on-air).

    Daisy then tells us more about "hot-spotting," which is the ability to click on an item in an online video and learn more about it and possibly purchase. Hot-spotting has become very hot (no pun), with multiple companies now offering technology that appears to be yielding significant results. Daisy reports that ConciseClick, ClickThrough and VideoClix are among the leaders and she provides some interesting stats on their performance. Listen in to learn more.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (14 minutes, 45 seconds)

    Click here for previous podcasts

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  • New comScore Research Available: More Ads Tolerable in Online TV Programs

    An article I read last week in Mediaweek about new comScore research which concluded more ads are tolerable in online-delivered TV programs really intrigued me. The research was presented by Tania Yuki, comScore's director of cross media and video products at an Advertising Research Foundation meeting. I called Tania to follow up and learn more about the data. Today I'm pleased to share her presentation with the research findings as a complimentary PDF download. Outside of the ARF meeting, this is the first time this data has been made available.

    Click here to download the research presentation

    As VideoNuze readers know, I've been a proponent of increasing the number of ads in online TV shows, in order to improve their economics. Note, I'm not advocating a jump to 18-20 minutes of ads typically found in on-air distribution that would likely turn users off. But I do believe that the current model of 3-4 minutes of ads in premium network programs is way too light, and that viewers will tolerate more without any drop-off in usage, particularly if the ads are well-targeted and engaging. ABC has told me in the past that research it conducted when it experimented with doubling its ad load corroborated this point, just as the comScore research now does as well. Just last week the CW announced it would double the number of ads in its online-delivered programs.

    Increasing the number of ads - and thereby strengthening the economic model for online-delivered TV - is critical for the industry to succeed long-term. The current lack of economic parity between online and on-air is gaining urgency; just last week when Hulu blocked access to its content via the new Kylo browser (meant for on-TV browsing), we were reminded of the absurd lengths to which the popular site will go to prevent its viewership from migrating to TVs. This is because Hulu was conceived as an online-only augment. Given its lack of economic parity with on-air (or with DVR viewing, as is now achieving), Hulu on TV would undermine its owners' P&Ls.

    The new comScore research concludes that viewers will tolerate 6-7 minutes of "total advertising time" during online-delivered TV programs. And note that this response reflects expectations of conventional advertising. I think it's quite possible that if respondents had been shown the kinds of targeted, entertaining and interactive video ads that blip.TV and others are now offering, they would have said their tolerance would be even higher. Providing further comfort that more ads are reasonable, when asked about the most important reasons for watching TV online, the answers were first, "Missed an episode on TV" (71%) and second, "Convenience" (57%). A distant third was "Less ads" (38%). Ad avoidance is important to online viewers, but it isn't their sole motivator.

    The comScore research further underscores the growing importance of online, particularly in terms of raising programs' visibility and sampling. For example, for people who watch both on TV and online, an "online video site" (28%) is already the third most-cited way of discovering new TV shows, following "TV advertising" (59%) and "Friend/family member recommendation" (44%). Related, 28% said that they believed that if they hadn't been made aware of their favorite program online first, they probably wouldn't have discovered it on TV, and therefore would have missed the show entirely. Across all respondents, 20% of shows watched regularly had been watched first online.  

    As Tania reminded me, TV is still by far the dominant platform for viewing TV programs and that it's important to remember that online-only viewing is nascent. ComScore's research found that only 6% of respondents tune-in online only, though another 29% view both online and on-air. The key for me is looking toward the future. When the 6% of online-only viewers is broken down by age groups, about 75% are between 18-34. And if my 8 and 10-year old kids are any example, no doubt that those under 18 are only going to be even more avid online video viewers. In order for the TV industry to succeed in the future, it is essential that the business models to sustain online viewing be figured out pronto.

    For this research, comScore which surveyed 1,825 people from its U.S.-only panel, weighted to match the total online population in age, income and gender. The  research was conducted between Dec. 30, 2009 and Jan. 22, 2010. It was not sponsored by any third-party.

    A reminder that if you're keen on this topic, join us for the complimentary April 8th webinar, "Demystifying Free vs. Paid Online Video" and then at the April 26th VideoSchmooze in NYC, where our panel topic is "Money Talks: Is Online Video Shifting toe the Paid Model?" (early bird tickets now available).

    What do you think? Post a comment now (no sign-in required).

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  • Interpreting comScore's January 2010 Online Video Usage Decline

    comScore released its Jan '10 online video rankings yesterday, and while the numbers were still very strong, they did show declines from Dec '09. For example, in Jan, total monthly views were 32.4 billion, compared with 33.2 billion in Dec '09, a decline of 2.4%. To try to put this blip downward in a little more context see the chart below. I've called out the Dec-Feb period for the past 3 years. In prior years there have been slight to moderate decreases somewhere in this period. This might suggest some seasonality, based on limited historical data.

    It's also worth noting that over the course of the last 3 years there have been 7 monthly sequential declines in the total monthly video views. Obviously nothing grows uninterrupted forever, and nobody should expect this from the online video market. Still, when you look at the overall growth curve, there can't be too many other Internet activities that have grown as consistently, with the exceptions maybe of social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc.).

    Elsewhere in the comScore stats, YouTube remained the undisputed 800 pound gorilla for another month, once again maintaining its approximate 40% market share (39.4% in Jan to be exact). According to comScore, YouTube's market share hasn't been below 35% since May '08, when total video views were 12 billion. In other words, even as total views have almost tripled, YouTube has consistently held onto its market share. Pretty amazing.

    Hulu also had another strong month, notching 903 million views (its 3rd best month) from 38.4 million unique visitors. Still, the unique visitor count tumbled by 13% from 44.2 million in Dec '09 to 38.4 million in Jan (by comparison YouTube increased from 135.8 million unique visitors in Dec to 136.5 million in Jan). As I mentioned recently, I'm looking for evidence that Hulu can expand its U.S. user base beyond the 35-45 million range it's been in for over a year.

    One other point worth noting from the Jan data is that Vevo, the music video aggregation site just launched in Dec '09 broke into the top 10 with 32.3 million unique viewers and 226.1 videos viewed. Vevo's rapid growth is further testament to the popularity of music videos online and the continued importance of short-form.

    What do you think? Post a comment now (no sign-in required).

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  • Why Did Online Video Consumption Spike in 2009?

    If you want to get a sense of how significant an inflection year 2009 was for online video, have a look at the chart below.


    As you can see, according to comScore data, while Jan-Dec growth in 2007 (up 2.8 billion views or 39%) and 2008 (up 4.5 billion views or 46%) were impressive by any standard, the Jan-Dec 2009 growth of 18.4 billion views, up 124%, completely blows them away. Growth was so significant in 2009 that I think years down the road it will be pointed to as the year that online video really turned the corner.

    But if that's the case, the question begs, "Why did growth accelerate so much in 2009 vs. prior years?" That's what I've been asked several times by industry colleagues since posting "comScore Data Shows 2009 Was a Blistering Year for Online Video" 2 weeks ago. It's a great question and though I don't have a really precise answer, here's my best sense of what happened.

    No surprise, the most important contributor to the year's growth was YouTube. It zoomed from 6.3 billion views in Jan '09 to 13.2 billion in Dec. '09. That increase of 6.9 views accounts for 38% of the 18.4 billion delta between Jan and Dec. So what did YouTube do to generate such significant growth? Part of the reason is surely organic; more people uploading, sharing and viewing YouTube videos. But in 2009 YouTube also made strides in professionalizing the content on YouTube, broadening its value proposition to users. For example, its "Content ID" program, which lets media companies manage and monetize user-uploaded videos, has largely addressed the copyright infringement concerns from past years (the Viacom suit is a notable exception).

    In 2009, among other things, YouTube also signed up Disney/ESPN, Univision and others as content partners, began implementing FreeWheel's ad system so 3rd party content providers could better monetize their views, engaged a number of leading brands to use it as a promotional platform, and with "YouTube Direct" engaged news organizations as partners. In short, YouTube continues to immerse itself into the fabric of the Internet. Whether users are viewing videos at its site or through its wildly popular embeds, YouTube has become omnipresent. YouTube now also claims to be the 2nd largest search site.

    A second, but distant contributor to 2009's growth was Hulu, which saw its views increase by over 763 million from Jan to Dec, accounting for about 4% of the 18.4 billion increase in total views during that period. Hulu's mindshare leaped following its 2009 "Evil Plot" Super Bowl ad featuring Alec Baldwin and the subsequent ones. No doubt the addition of ABC programs throughout the year, plus other new content partners, also helped generate more viewership, along with the hugely popular SNL clips.

    Once you get beyond these top 2 sites, the individual contributions to 2009's growth are more dispersed. The comScore data shows that across all video sites, usage intensified significantly during the year. For example, the number of videos viewed per viewer increased from 101 in Jan to 187 in Dec. The number of minutes watched jumped from 356 in Jan (almost 6 hours) to 762 in Dec (more than 12 1/2). There were also 31 million more U.S. Internet users watching video in Dec vs. Jan (178 million vs 147 million).

    Looking beyond the numbers and thinking more qualitatively, it's also fair to conclude than in '09 online video reached a certain level of awareness that made it almost ubiquitous. There is just so much video online, and it is shared so widely, and highlighted so frequently by mainstream media, that it is unavoidable, even for the least technically-savvy among us. People are increasingly entertaining themselves with online video, but they're also finding new uses for it in their daily personal and professional lives.

    I think it's unlikely we'll see the same level of growth in 2010 as in 2009, but I do believe the growth curve over the next 5 years will be very steep. The primary contributor will be convergence devices (e.g. game consoles, Blu-ray players, Roku, etc.) that are bridging online video to the TV where longer-form consumption will be the norm. Another key contributor will be TV Everywhere services, which are just now getting off the starting blocks. Lastly, I think growth in mobile consumption will be another important contributor. Add them all up and the 33.2 billion videos viewed in Dec. '09 will look relatively small 5 years from now.

    What do you think? Post a comment now (no sign-in required).

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  • VideoNuze Report Podcast #49 - February 12, 2010

    Daisy Whitney and I are pleased to present the 49th edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for February 12, 2010.

    This week Daisy and I dig into the 2009 comScore data that I detailed in my post on Tuesday (slides available for download too). It was a blistering year for online video, with total streams growing from 14.8 billion in Jan '09 to 33.2 billion in Dec '09. All the other relevant metrics also recorded strong growth. I share more details on the numbers and what they mean, focusing particularly on the top 2 sites YouTube and Hulu.

    Then Daisy discusses her takeaways from the recent iMedia conference she helped organize. She talks about how brands are trying to break through the clutter, and the role of online video ad networks. Finally, she also discusses recent interviews she conducted with Facebook executives.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (13 minutes, 55 seconds)

    Click here for previous podcasts

    The VideoNuze Report is available in iTunes...subscribe today!

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