Commentary

Online Video Ads Grow 2.5 Times in April from Last Year, Time Spent 46%

Our appetite for online videos -- and the ads that accompany them -- keeps growing. The amount of time spent watching online video grew about 46% in April compared to the year before, according to an analysis of comScore’s just-released April 2012 online video viewership figures. Interestingly, comScore’s data reveals that while the number of unique viewers rose only 5% -- from 172 million in April 2011 to 181 million in April 2012 -- they are watching a lot more video. Internet video viewers watched about 21.8 hours last month -- up from 15 hours the year before, representing the 46% rise.

The number of video ads viewed online rose to 9.5 billion for April, up from 3.8 billion the year before -- an increase of more than two-and-a-half times. Plus, the 9.5 billion ads is a 14% rise from the 8.3 billion ads delivered just one month ago in March.

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Most of the video viewership increase is coming from YouTube. In April, YouTube viewers watched 7.3 hours, compared to 4.8 hours a year ago -- about a 52% increase in the time spent watching videos on the world’s biggest video-sharing site.

Is the growth coming from YouTube’s original channels initiative that began to roll out in January? It’s plausible that the site’s push to offer more premium content from professionals is paying off in greater site engagement -- especially since YouTube is quickly growing in ads viewed too, comScore says. YouTube served up 1.3 billion video ads in April, placing it second among video sites. It’s worth noting that YouTube didn’t even crack the top ten sites or properties by ads viewed a year ago.

However, YouTube still lags Hulu significantly in ads viewed. Hulu, with only 28 million unique viewers to YouTube’s 158 million, delivered 1.6 billion video ads last month. Hulu users averaged 3.8 hours in April watching the site. 

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