It's that time of the month again, when comScore puts out its Video Metrix numbers that show who is ruling the roost in online video. As expected, YouTube is still top dog and it seems that VEVO has cemented itself into the second post overall. More interestingly though, is that Tremor Video looks to be making up big ground on Hulu in regards to online video advertising.

Top Online Video Content Properties

Google remains strong in first place commanding the viewing attention of 88.7% of all online video viewers in the US. comScore has made some changes to their reporting as well and have switched to videos where they formerly used viewing sessions, which I thought was vague and useless. Now they have actual videos, but remember, they consider 3 seconds of streaming as a video view for their reporting so when it says 18.6 billion videos, lots of them could be 3-second autoplays which I don't think should really count. In fact, I don't think any autoplay videos should count whether for video views or for video ads, they should all be only user-initiated views, but that's just me. Still, it is refreshing to see comScore making some sorely needed changes to their cryptic reporting. Google then, in videos, accounted for 46.7% of all views for the month and roughly 32% of viewing minutes per viewer.

Top U.S. Online Video Content Properties Ranked by Unique Video Viewers
September 2011
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Content Videos Only (Ad Videos Not Included)
Source: comScore Video Metrix
Property Total Unique Viewers (000) Videos (000)* Minutes per Viewer
Total Internet : Total Audience 181,915 39,813,781 1,167.9
Google Sites 161,406 18,609,393 378.0
VEVO 57,348 748,163 60.2
Microsoft Sites 53,972 735,911 39.3
Viacom Digital 53,424 633,598 53.8 49,891 252,521 16.1
Yahoo! Sites 46,104 526,745 49.4
AOL, Inc. 41,850 408,157 55.9
NBC Universal 29,772 95,518 15.3
Turner Digital 28,594 240,980 33.2
Hulu 27,051 642,405 180.3

*A video is defined as any streamed segment of audiovisual content, (both progressive downloads and live streams). 

I also wanted to show you some notes from their reporting. The above is not all that interesting, but the below most certainly is:
For long-form, segmented content, (e.g. television episodes with ad pods in the middle) each segment of the content is counted as a distinct video stream.

Wait, wait, wait. So if I watch a standard 30-minute TV show online at Hulu and there are three ad breaks, that then means that the one video counts as four video views? Well, so much for praising comScore for positive change in their reporting. If I watch an hour-long show and it's got six ad breaks it is then seven video views. So when they say that there were almost 40 billion video views, what they might really mean is that there were between three and forty billion actual videos that were viewed, depending on how many ad breaks there were in the videos viewed.

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Top 10 Online Video Ad Properties by Video Ads Viewed

If we now turn to the online video ads, we see that there were around 6.9 billion video ads. So you can more easily see what I mean about the actual number of videos viewed. If those were all ad break videos, one ad break per video, then it would mean each video that had those ads would have accounted for about 13.8 billion video views, double the actual number of videos viewed. Lots of wiggle room in these numbers still.

Hulu seems to have stalled at around the one billion video ads per month mark while some others have continued to grow. Tremor and have really been gaining ground this year and it seems that Hulu could topple from the top spot by year's end. In August Tremor had 753 and 677 million ads each. If Tremor ads 60 million ads per month that would see them at the edge of one billion video ads a month. If continues at the growth of month-to-month numbers they would cruise past both Tremor and Hulu in November with about more than a billion video ads per month. Hulu only added about 19 million in the past month.

Where to Place your Online Video Ads?

My favorite part of the monthly numbers, analysis on where to place your video ads.

This week, there's a clear cut, no-brainer winner who rocks both a really low frequency of ads per viewer and the largest reach of the US population and that is, Specific Media. With second lowest frequency, half an ad behind TidalTV and the top reach, 2% more than Brightroll, they are my pick on where to place your ads currently. Low frequency and high reach combine to mean far more eyes on your ads with less ad blindness due to repetition. Seems like a win-win right there.

Second option this month, because there's no sense putting your eggs in one basket, would be Brightroll who has the second highest reach and the fifth lowest frequency meaning you'd still get a pretty decent amount of unique eyeballs eyeballin' your video ads.

Third this month I think would be TidalTV who have skyrocketed onto the chart this month and have the lowest frequency. Their reach isn't as wide as some of the others, but 5% reach difference when you're showing twice as many ads to those viewers seems a good trade off. TidalTV still has a goodly 17.5% reach and with that ultra-low ads per viewer rate means you've got decent reach and some good ad diversity there as opposed to say Tremor or who have much higher frequency (both up this month over last which probably accounts for some of their overall ad views) but only a few percent more in terms of reach.

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Top U.S. Online Video Ad Properties Ranked by Video Ads* Viewed
September 2011
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Ad Videos Only (Content Videos Not Included)
Source: comScore Video Metrix
Property Video Ads (000) Total Ad Minutes (MM) Frequency (Ads per Viewer) % Reach Total U.S. Population
Total Internet : Total Audience 6,882,064 2,947 45.3 50.3
Hulu 1,020,984 414 38.2 8.8
Tremor Video** 811,070 425 13.7 19.6† 803,407 450 11.6 22.9
BrightRoll Video Network** 664,962 391 8.9 24.9
Specific Media** 592,657 295 7.3 26.9** 358,039 217 6.8 17.5
Auditude, Inc.** 343,832 205 8.7 13.1
Undertone** 336,655 158 10.7 10.4
SpotXchange Video Ad Marketplace** 329,439 196 7.7 14.3
CBS Interactive 280,467 122 10.4 9.0

*Video ads include streaming-video advertising only and do not include other types of 
video monetization, such as overlays, branded players, matching banner ads, 
homepage ads, etc.
**Indicates video ad network
†Indicates video ad exchange

Top 10 YouTube Partner Channels by Unique Viewers

Here's that new chart they are doing which tracks top YouTube partner channels. They're pretty static really. The top six haven't changed position while the bottom four shuffled about a bit which seems to be mostly based on lower numbers for everyone there except for IGN who saw a slight growth in unique viewers. It seems video games were more interesting than things like the news on YouTube.

Top YouTube Partner Channels* Ranked by Unique Video Viewers
September 2011
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Content Videos Only (Ad Videos Not Included)
Source: comScore Video Metrix
Property Total Unique Viewers (000) Videos Viewed (000) Minutes per Viewer
VEVO @ YouTube 57,267 724,488 57.6
Warner Music @ YouTube 28,808 183,711 28.5
Machinima @ YouTube 17,036 249,005 61.9
Maker Studios @ YouTube 9,028 71,833 32.1
Demand Media @ YouTube 6,833 19,901 9.8
Revision3 @ YouTube 5,400 17,785 14.9
IGN @ YouTube 5,286 18,782 14.9
FullScreen @ YouTube 4,959 17,768 14.9
Associated Press AP @ YouTube 4,279 7,768 7.0
Clevvertv @ YouTube 4,205 8,616 8.3

*YouTube Partner Reporting based on online video content viewing and does not include 
claimed user-generated content

Other notable findings from September 2011 include:

  • 85.3 percent of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
  • The duration of the average online content video was 5.3 minutes, while the average online video ad was 0.4 minutes.
  • Video ads accounted for 14.7 percent of all videos viewed and 1.4 percent of all minutes spent viewing video online.

There was a half percent decline in US Internet audience viewing videos online from August and the average ad length dropped 6 seconds to 24 seconds from 30 last month. Video ads increased as a percentage of all ads (14.7%) and so also slightly increased the percentage of minutes (1.4%). Last month those numbers were13.4% and 1.3%.