Nielsen says online video surges in February from year ago

Nielsen reports today that February saw a 10.5 percent year-over-year increase in unique views for online video, and said CNN Digital was the big gainer for the month with a 30.6 percent increase in unique views from January; MSN saw a 21.4 percent bump and AOL gained 17 percent.

Overall, unique viewers topped 141 million for the month, up from 127.6 million a year ago, and some 10.3 billion videos-a 15.8 percent from a year ago-were streamed. As expected, numbers were marginally lower than January and historically have rebounded in March.

The company's numbers generally are disputed by the online video industry as being under-reported. For instance, Nielsen said YouTube streamed some 5.9 billion videos in February. comScore reported the Google site as streaming some 33 billion videos in January.

Still, Nielsen's numbers show continuing growth in the online video industry, with February more than doubling January's 5.2 percent Y-o-Y growth.

Top online brands, ranked by unique viewers, were YouTube (108 million, down 3.4 percent), Yahoo (25.5 million, down 2.2 percent), Facebook (22.5 million, up 4.7 percent), MSN (19 million, up 21.4 percent) and Hulu (14.1 million, down 7.4 percent).

When ranked by video streams, the top brands were YouTube (5.9 billion, off 10.7 percent), Hulu (647.5 million, up 1.9 percent), MSN (218.7 million, up 21.7 percent), CNN (152.4 million, up 46.2 percent) and Turner Sports and Entertainment (137.5 million, up 0.1 percent).

Hulu viewers watched videos the longest, an average of 244.8 minutes, with ABC Family second at 203.3 minutes, both numbers were up from the previous month.

For more:
- see this release

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