Nielsen: Online video growth up, but slows from a year ago

Nielsen reports the total online video audience in the U.S. increased about 5.2 percent year-over-year to more than 142.7 million viewers in January from 137.4 million in January 2009; it was a significant decrease from the growth Nielsen reported a year ago. Overall, Nielsen said online video properties served up some 11.1 billion videos for the month, a 3.1 percent increase month-over-month. The average viewer saw 77.5 streams, down 0.8 percent from December, and watched 188.7 minutes of video for the month, a fall of 2.3 percent M-o-M.

While YouTube held onto its top spot with 6.6 billion unique streams in January, a 3 percent increase from December, the big winner-percentage-wise--for January was ABC Television with a 71.3 percent M-o-M increase to 128.5 million streams. Other top properties for video streams were MTV Networks, which saw a jump of 31.7 percent to 131.1 million views, and Microsoft sites with a 27.3 percent increase to 179.7 million views.

Nielsen said YouTube had 112.6 million unique viewers for the month, up 6.7 percent, followed by Yahoo! With 26.1 million, a decline of 5.3 percent, and Facebook with 21.5 million, up a whopping 18.6 percent and evidence the site is continuing its efforts to feature more online video as part of the social networking mix. Disney had the most drastic change in unique viewers M-o-M, a 23.3 percent increase to 8.1 million.

Hulu viewers watched nearly 635.6 million streams, essentially flat for the month, for 235 minutes, down 5.1 percent from the previous month; YouTube scored 112 minutes.

Nielsen's numbers have been criticized by many in the online industry as not being broad enough. comScore, for example, reported online viewing stats significantly higher than Nielsen's, with Google topping 33 billion views in December and Hulu more than 1 billion.

For more:
- see this release

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