Online ads reach only a fraction of video viewers

Most Americans online are watching video online but most are getting that content sans advertising

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
October 24, 2011
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Advertisers may need to find more creative ways to reach viewers of streaming online video. The average internet user spent 19.5 hours streaming or downloading Web content last month. Yet only a small sliver of that time was spent watching an ad.

Of those nearly 20 hours watching a video in a month, 1.4% of that time was spent watching video advertisements, according to a recent study by the digital researching company comScore. That is a staggering fraction compared to the 16-30% of advertsiing allotment from standard cable consumption.

And, this isn't because ads are always a fraction of the video viewing time anyway. It's because across the Web, only 17% of video content has an advertisement on it, leaving a lot of opportunity for advertisers. 

Hulu led the pack in streaming video advertising for the month of September. But that was only 8% of the U.S. Internet population. Just over 85% of the US Internet audience watches video online.

Out of the nearly 40 billion video views online, Americans were exposed to 6.8 billion ads for the month of September and Hulu accounted for just over one billion of them. Coming in as second and third were Tremor Video and with more than 800 million a piece. Based on these numbers it was surprising that Hulu reaches a smaller, more consistent percentage of the US population (a mere 8.8 %), the lowest percentage of the top ten advertising leaders, compared to Tremor Video's 19.6% of the population and's 22.9%. 

This discrepancy shows how successful, Hulu has been at selling advertisement for as a single site with a dependent usership, compared to other advertising groups that sell space across multiple websites.

Of the 182 million online video consumers, GoogleSites (mostly due to YouTube content) received the most unique viewers in September with 161.4 million. VEVO was a distant second with 57.3 million viewers and music-centric VEVO with 53.9 million viewers.

This study also showed that the time spent on YouTube was more than six times the closest competitors with 378 minutes spent on Google-hosted content compared to the 60 minutes on VEVO and a modest 39.3 minutes on Microsoft Sites content.

ComScore has also ranked YouTube content based on the different channels that groups and companies have created. By showing the changes month-to-month based on individual channels, content creators can sell unique advertising for their content. The top movers in YouTube's channel catalog are VEVO, Warner Music and Machinima.

VEVO and Warner Music's artist-content and Machinima's gaming content beat out Demand Media's educational content and the Associated Press's new-related content. The top three channels also crush their competition in the engagement of their viewers since VEVO and Machinima watchers spend nearly an hour a month watching content and Warner Music viewers spend just less than half an hour while the rest of the top ten hold their viewers attention for seven-15 minutes.

This is great for the viewers, and a major reason why views like the online experience but these results don't bode well for the long-term viability of online content and longevity of streaming. Like all good things, this too will soon be monetized more efficiently. 


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