We aren't privy to all the advertising revenue for each of the networks -- which would seem to be the real measure. We have some idea about how much money hulu.com is making for its three primary partners -- News Corp, NBC Universal, and Walt Disney -- with chief executive Jason Kilar talking up a 2010 advertising take of $240 million.
As with everything in the Internet world, there are different measures for whatever digital pleasure you can consider.
We might consider NBC number one, according to comScore's Media Metrix, when looking at monthly unique visitors for all content -- video or otherwise. ABC generally has been getting the number-one nod from Nielsen's VideoCensus results -- which just observes video content and uniques.
But there is more to consider.
For example, in addition to CBS claiming No. 1 status over the first two months of this new season among the TV advertising currency where media dollars are the biggest -- traditional TV viewing among adults 18-49 viewers -- the network also has another, perhaps less-touted, digital metric going its way.
CBS, that older skewing network, according to many analysts (and critics), is ranked first in market share for all "visits" to its site and that of its show destinations, according to Experian Hitwise.
Perhaps much of this trend comes from CBS' overall big numbers of total viewers -- where it has been the leader for many seasons. Despite attempts to attach a "young-skewing" audience to the Internet, CBS seems here to take online performance to another level.
Right now, ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" (an older-skewing show for sure) is easily the most visited TV network website, with a 14% market share of U.S. visits. Well back in second place is Fox's "Glee" which has a 5% market share. Third and fourth place belong to CBS' "NCIS" and "Survivor" with around 4% each, respectively. CBS has six of the top 10 shows on this list, according to Experian Hitwise.
Overall, CBS was first in the most recent week, ABC second, and CW third, followed by NBC and then Fox.
What all this suggests is that the Internet is still many things to many companies: data sliced and diced to suit a variety of selling reality and/or perception needs. That's something many in the biz can love -- while the rest of us continue to scratch our heads.