Hulu viewership declines in visitors and viewing hours

For some reason, Hulu viewership is off this year, according to multiple sources that track these kinds of things.

Wedbush Securities and comScore data, covered by Radio & Television Business Report, said the number of hours people spent watching video on Hulu fell 58 percent to 65 million hours viewed in August; in March, the figures showed 156 million hours. Nielsen, the publication added, reported that Hulu alone--without subscription-based Hulu Plus--experienced a 7 million drop in unique monthly viewers in August, from a high of 19 million in December.

It would be easy to say that August was the Olympics and everyone expected viewership declines thereafter, but comScore reported that the total domestic online videos available grew by two billion, from 45 billion to 47 billion, between March and August. Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) had a 28 percent spike in viewership during the same period, Wedbush said.

"We are at a loss to explain the decline [at Hulu], and we are dubious that it can be explained alone by a rapid shift to mobile consumption," Michael Pachter, a Wedbush analyst, wrote in an analysis covered by Radio & Television Business Report.

On the flip side of the analysis, Hulu reportedly has about 1,000 advertisers and 410 content partners--up 20 percent from the 343 content partners it had at the beginning of 2011.

Radio & Television Business Report, having looked at the statistics, came up with its own conclusion that viewers, perhaps, "are choosing to view network content directly on the network sites rather than going to Hulu to see it."

For more:
- Radio & Television Business Report has this story

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