Facebook sees 1,840% YoY jump in user time spent viewing videos

Roll this number around in your head a bit: 6.63 billion. That's the number of streams YouTube served up in October, Nielsen said today in its VideoCensus report.

Yawn. The sun came up this morning, it's going to be dark tonight, and there is a 100% chance the sun will rise again tomorrow. For the time being, the only drama left in YouTube announcements is when the video hub is going to hit 10 billion views a month. (For the record, I'm thinking, oh, April.)

The real news coming out of the report today is that, while YouTube remains king, Facebook has moved into the ranks of content royalty. The social networking site served up 217.8 million streams -- third most of all websites in October -- to some 31.6 million unique viewers. Hulu came in second with 632.6 million streams to 13.5 million unique viewers.

Not only are the number of video use up at Facebook the time spent watching videos on social networks in general has nearly doubled over the past year, from 503.8 million minutes in October 2008 to 999.4 minutes last month, Nielsen said.

"During the past year, online video viewing has become central to the web experience. In conjunction with this increase, we are seeing remarkable growth in video viewing on social networking sites and is only natural that these two trends would converge and consumers minds, making sites like Facebook and MySpace.com increasingly important distribution points for both consumer and professionally generated video," said Jon Gibs, vice president of media analytics for Nielsen.

Nielsen said Facebook's online video viewing growth has been nothing short of phenomenal. The site has seen a 1,840%, yep, 1,840% year-over-year increase in total time spent viewing videos to 677 million minutes last month. The number of unique viewers watching video on the site was up a comparatively paltry 548%.

The amount of online video being viewed on Facebook has turned the website into something of a media portal, said Gibs. "social networking sites are evolving from a venue for catching up with friends to a platform for personal expression, allowing consumers to share their experiences in the full variety of content formats available online."

For more:
- see this Nielsen report on social networking sites
- see this Nelson report on October's online video viewing