Online Video Viewing Numbers Dip in February According to ComScore

Online Video Viewing Numbers Dip in February According to ComScore

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Another month has passed and it’s plainly obvious up here in Milwaukee as spring has sprung, then rewound itself, then sprung again. This time we think it’s going to stick. Since it’s round the 15th of the month it means comScore has put out numbers for February which showed a decent 179 million watched 38 billion videos, with the caveat that each segment of video, as in between ads, is a video in their numbers. So if a half-hour TV show is online, at say Hulu, and has three ad breaks, that translates into four videos and three ads. Weird, I know. Even then, those numbers are slightly down from January (181M and 40B).

Here’s their new and improved definition on a video for their report:

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

So, all of these numbers are inflated if the site is showing ads in the middle which means the video automatically counts for two streams.

That also means that 38 billion videos is far from accurate and really, there’s no actual way of telling how many videos were viewed, good old data obfuscation. But it is certain that the majority of them were viewed on YouTube.

Meanwhile, Yahoo! finally mounted a full frontal assault and took second from VEVO in unique viewers, videos and even minutes per viewer. They grew some 11M unique viewers over January. Well done Yahoo! it seems you’ve got your video initiative on track again! Facebook also jumped Viacom to end up in fourth.

Top U.S. Online Video Content Properties Ranked by Unique Video Viewers
February 2012
Total U.S. – Home and Work Locations
Content Videos Only (Ad Videos Not Included)
Source: comScore Video Metrix
PropertyTotal Unique Viewers (000)Videos (000)*Minutes per Viewer
Total Internet : Total Audience 179,11237,791,5801,305.8
Google Sites147,42616,671,058418.2
Yahoo! Sites60,882721,37267.8
Viacom Digital43,171482,85460.4
AOL, Inc.40,802442,30846.1
Microsoft Sites40,004570,17053.5
Comcast NBCUniversal39,042205,64729.0
Turner Digital28,997268,69931.9


Google lost almost 4M viewers, Viacom lost around 5M, Facebook just 2M (which is how they pulled off 2nd). Other shake ups in the bottom include AOL topping Microsoft (barely), NBCU and Amazon dropping out to be replaced by Turner and Comcast. Hulu slipped to 9th from 8th also.

Now my favorite part, the video ads by network. I won’t even talk about the crazy 1.5B ads that Hulu shows because they are rapidly approaching 50 per viewer, when you think about it, why would you put ads there?

No, the place you should be putting your campaigns this month is Brightroll! Those brightrollers have some pretty big reach at 32.4% of Americans and only show an awesome 6.9 ads per viewer, seriously well done! Specific Media is hanging in there as well with 28.5% reach and only 7 ads per viewer. After that it gets a bit murky because Google has a slightly higher reach, but 50% more ads per viewer than which has a comparable reach. I would probably say gets third place this month. Google’s inclusion here is new, they weren’t in any previous reports. Specific had a pretty massive video ad jump month-to-month from 397M to 611M. They must have signed up some new sites because ad minutes and reach both went up as well. Brightroll on the other hand had a smaller increase in ads, but still showed good growth in minutes without a big jump in frequency.  We need to keep an eye on them, they seem to be vying for supremacy, at least in regards to how I rate them. After all, don’t you want more people to see your ad, and see it less to lower the chance of ad blindness? A place like Google will, and I’ve seen this at GDN, throw on campaign at a site. Right now, if you go watch 20 or 30 videos at GDN, you’ll get a Chevy commercial 99% of the time and the same commercial to boot! Probably accounts for their higher frequency.

Checking my article last month on these numbers, it seems I’m getting redundant as well, my top three ad networks are the same this month. I guess that shows stability on their part really.

Top U.S. Online Video Ad Properties Ranked by Video Ads* Viewed
February 2012
Total U.S. – Home and Work Locations
Ad Videos Only (Content Videos Not Included)
Source: comScore Video Metrix
PropertyVideo Ads (000)Total Ad Minutes (MM)Frequency (Ads per Viewer)% Reach Total U.S. Population
Total Internet : Total Audience 7,495,2013,18449.150.0
Google Sites1,124,89211915.623.5
BrightRoll Video Network**683,4404296.932.4
Specific Media**611,0763027.028.5
Tremor Video**491,05026411.414.1
Auditude, Inc.**411,72617410.512.8
Microsoft Sites393,06915411.111.6
TubeMogul Video Ad Platform**334,4771487.714.2

Oh, here’s an explanation about Google suddenly shooting to the top of the chart.

Note: Google Sites’ video ad data includes a sizeable increase vs. previous months due to the recent inclusion of certain YouTube ad formats in our reporting. Any changes vs. previous months should not be treated as organic growth. In addition, Google Sites’ video ad data currently does not include promoted videos on YouTube or homepage ads.
*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

Finally, that YouTube partners channel table which I think could really be replaced with something more useful, for my purposes anyway. Although, if you’ve got a short-form video series to pitch, you might have some ideas where to do that based on this chart, if it fits into what these guys are showing.

Top YouTube Partner Channels* Ranked by Unique Video Viewers
February 2012
Total U.S. – Home and Work Locations
Content Videos Only (Ad Videos Not Included)
Source: comScore Video Metrix
PropertyTotal Unique Viewers (000)Videos (000)Minutes per Viewer
VEVO @ YouTube50,755674,12660.5
Warner Music @ Youtube29,893185,03227.7
Machinima @ YouTube22,910343,53163.7
Maker Studios Inc. @ YouTube14,432155,10847.1
FullScreen @ YouTube11,99954,64819.0
Warner Bros (The Ellen Show) @ YouTube8,99238,54317.8
BroadbandTV @ YouTube8,62637,84716.4
Big Frame @ YouTube8,07242,81020.1
Clevvertv @ YouTube7,01713,1057.8
Demand Media @ YouTube6,81617,4209.5

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

Other notable findings from February 2012 include:

  • 83.8 percent of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
  • The duration of the average online content video was 6.2 minutes, while the average online video ad was 0.4 minutes.
  • Video ads accounted for 16.6 percent of all videos viewed and 1.3 percent of all minutes spent viewing video online.


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