U.S. online digital viewing continued to expand, according to comScore's (NASDAQ: SCOR) U.S. Digital Year in Review, with more than 88.6 million people watching video on an average day in December, an increase of 32 percent over a year ago. The online data mining company also said total viewing sessions for the month increased 13 percent to 5.8 billion, and said the average time spent watching videos topped 14 hours, up 12 percent over December 2009.
Hulu helped to continue the increasing trend of watching TV content online, racking up 323 million hours of online TV viewing in the fourth quarter, twice as much as the combined amount of time viewers spent on five of the largest broadcasters' online sites (162 million hours), said comScore. The total combined time spent viewing online TV on Hulu and the five network sites (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW) grew 33 percent over the past year.
The comScore numbers underscore comments Hulu CEO Jason Kilar made last week that traditional TV's model was being eclipsed by online video. In a blog, Kilar said "Hulu's video advertising service is roughly 2x as effective as traditional TV video advertising services."
"Consumers want TV to be more convenient for them," he said. "People want programs to start at a time that is convenient for their schedules, not at a time dictated to them. Consumption of original TV episodes will eventually mirror theatrical movie attendance: big opening Friday nights, but more consumption will be in the days and weeks afterward. Consumers also want the freedom to be able to watch TV on whatever screen is most convenient for them, be it a smartphone, a tablet, a PC, or, yes, a TV."
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