Online video viewing time up 56% in January; Hulu UVs up 26%

The number of unique viewers of online video in the United States increased to 181 million in January, a 5.8 percent jump from January 2010, with Hulu showing the biggest percentage jump in viewers and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) maintaining the largest overall audience, according to comScore's Video Matrix. Overall, 84.4 percent of the U.S. Internet audience watched online video, up from 83.5 percent a year ago.

Users watched 40 billion videos in January 2011, and continued to increase the amount of online video they viewed. The average user watched 22.6 hours of online video content, 55.9 percent more than they were watching in January 2010, but down 2.5 percent from December, a normal seasonal variation. Viewers watched 7.5 hours worth of video on Google sites, up from 4.7 hours a year ago; Hulu ranked second at 3.2 hours, down from 3.9 hours in 2011.

The average length of online videos viewed has climbed 22 percent from a year ago to 6.1 minutes, comScore said.

Among the Top 10 online video properties, Hulu was the big winner, percentage wise, seeing an increase of 25.7 percent in UVs. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) sites and Facebook saw the next biggest increases in unique viewers from a year ago, 8.9 percent and 7.3 percent respectively. AOL, meanwhile, saw the biggest drop; its UV have tumbled 8 percent from a year ago despite the company's increased focus and spending on online video content.

Falling out of the Top 10 from a year ago were Turner Digital and Fox Interactive. New to the list were Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) and NBCUniversal.

Google saw the largest number of unique viewers, 152 million in January, compared to 144 million a year ago, a 5.5 percent in increase. The company has been pushing its original content initiative hard for the past several months. Vevo saw the second largest audience, 51.4 million UVs, and Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) saw 49.2 million UVs. Both increased UVs about 1 percent from a year ago.

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