Online video viewers are going deeper.
A quick analysis of Nielsen’s online video statistics at various points in the last year reveals that while the number of online video viewers in the United States has remained steady, they’re watching more — a lot more streams, in some cases -- at the top destinations, and that’s where the growth in the business is coming from.
For instance, in August about 164 million Americans watched 27 billion online videos, averaging about seven hours of viewing for the month, Nielsen said in a just-released report. Compare that to September 2011 (direct year-over-year figures were not available, so I went with the closest viewing period), when 164 million people watched 17 billion videos. Essentially, total viewers stayed the same, but the number of videos watched grew by 58%.
Time spent increased during that period from five hours a month in September 2011, to seven hours in August 2012. (In December 2011, Web video viewers were still averaging about five hours per month, but by June 2012 that had risen to nearly six, and by August it hit about seven.)
Who benefitted from the desire for more videos? YouTube, for starters. That site saw the number of streams viewed in the U.S. rise from 10 billion in September 2011 to nearly 18 billion in August 2012, Nielsen said. Netflix saw a nice boost from 216 million streams in September 2011 to 368 million in August 2012. AOL also plumped up from 198 million to 503 million, while ESPN saw a similar rise from 202 million streams to 473 million.
Similarly, YouTube saw a rise in time spent -- from 2 hours and 52 minutes to 4 hours and 43 minutes during that time frame, while Hulu rose from 2 hours and 26 minutes to 4 hours and 26 minutes. Netflix remained steady at about 10 hours per viewer.