Internet Video Viewing Soars 41% In December

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U.S. Internet users watched a record 14.3 billion online videos in December, up 41% compared with 10.1 billion in the same period a year earlier, according to Internet audience-measurement firm comScore.

Nearly 150 million people watched videos online in the month, representing 78.5% of the total U.S. Internet audience. The average online video viewer watched 309 minutes of video, or more than five hours.

Americans still spend far more time watching traditional TV, logging an average of more than 127 hours per month, according to Nielsen.

The surge in December, a 13% increase over the previous month, was led by Google's YouTube, which accounted for 49% of the incremental gain in videos viewed versus November.

YouTube and other Google sites tallied 5.9 billion videos viewed -- capturing 41% online video market share -- followed by Fox Interactive Media (which operates MySpace), Yahoo and Viacom, comScore said.

Hulu, the joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp., drove 241 million video views, up 6% versus November. The duration of the average online video viewed at Hulu was 10.1 minutes, higher than any other video property in comScore's top 10.

In terms of unique visitors, YouTube and Google sites hit 100.1 million online video viewers during the month, representing two out of every three Internet users who watched video.

The top 10 U.S. online video properties by videos viewed for December 2008 were:

1. YouTube/Google 5.9 billion
2. Fox Interactive Media 444.9 million
3. Yahoo 330.0 million
4. Viacom 290.6 million
5. Microsoft 247.9 million
6. Hulu 240.6 million
7. AOL 197.1 million
8. Turner 183.9 million
9. Disney Online 148.4 million
10. ESPN 102.5 million

ComScore's online-video rankings includes both streaming and progressive-download video.

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