YouTube Ousts Hulu in Video Ads For First Time; Online Video Ads Double Year-Over-Year

For the first time ever, YouTube has surpassed Hulu in video ads served. According to comScore’s just-released June 2012 Video Metrix, Google-owned sites delivered 1.41 billion ads in June, the most of any Web property. Brightroll was next at 1.39 billion, and Hulu landed in the third slot at 1.33 billion. The top five also included Adap.tv with 1.15 billion video ads and TubeMogul with 1.04 billion video ads. A year ago, YouTube had not even registered on comScore’s ranking of top 10 properties by video ads served.

What’s more, the number of online video ads more than doubled over last year -- a record 11 billion video ad streams were served in June, up from 10 billion the month before and more than double the nearly 5.3 billion in June 2011.

Those figures should be useful to any publisher, ad network, or agency needing quick proof of the growth in online video. But what’s particularly interesting is that the number of strong players is growing. Last June, Hulu comprised about 20% of the 5.3 billion video ads delivered. This June, the top five video ad properties each delivered more than 1 billion video ads.

But the ousting of Hulu from the top spot should not be viewed as a warning sign over Hulu’s future. For starters, the amount of first-run broadcast content naturally dips in June when networks go on summer hiatus, so it’s normal for Hulu’s viewership and ads to wane. Also, Hulu continues to be tops when it comes to monetizing streams per viewer. It delivered the highest frequency of ads to viewers with 52, comScore said, while Google’s frequency is about 19. Ad load is a key factor in successfully making money in online video, and Hulu excels in ad load.

YouTube also has a much bigger audience to monetize across, but the fact that YouTube has been inching up the ad charts all year is good for everyone. YouTube is the bellwether, and what’s good for YouTube is often what’s good for the online video business. The more ad dollars that YouTube corrals, the more proof the industry has of the vitality of online video marketing. 

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