As Websites Turn to Video, YouTube Maintains Dominance

24/7 Wall St.

The largest Internet companies have described video content as critical to their futures. Video advertising carries a huge premium to the banner ads that have dominated the industry's revenue stream for years. In addition, there are the premium content firms that rely on subscriptions, first among them Hulu. Each can only sit and watch as Google Inc.'s (GOOG) YouTube extends the period over which it has taken the massive part of Internet video "eyeballs." Its dominance dwarfs the audiences of sites that need their video programming to thrive.

According to online video ranking data for last month posted by research firm comScore:

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Google Sites, driven primarily by video viewing at YouTube.com, ranked as the top online video content property in August with 167 million unique viewers. AOL captured the #2 spot with 71.2 million, followed by Facebook with 62.2 million, NDN with 50.7 million and VEVO with 49.4 million. 46.7 billion video content views occurred during the month, with Google Sites generating the highest number at 17.4 billion, followed by AOL, Inc. with 992 million and Facebook with 803 million. Google Sites had the highest average engagement among the top ten properties.

To further show YouTube's dominance, minutes per view on the site were 521.6 in August. AOL Inc.'s (AOL) were 56.8, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) sites registered 33 minutes, and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) sites 79.2. Facebook Inc. (FB) posted a pitiful 21.6.

The irony about the online video information is that YouTube needs video ads and consumer-paid video content less than its much smaller competition. Its juggernaut parent Google brings in so much revenue -- $14 billion in the second quarter -- that YouTube is all but a rounding error. Its sales are not even broken out.

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YouTube has made efforts to bring in video advertising revenue, and it even has a movie rental business. Neither had been successful. That may be because YouTube is largely populated by user-generated video that is often short and low quality. YouTube has to explain why premium content can sit side by side with the "junk" and still create an environment for high-end marketers used to TV production quality.

YouTube's spot as the number one video site will hold during the foreseeable future. Because of that, online viewers -- who obviously only have so much time -- will not migrate in any number to the sites that really, desperately need the money that goes with those viewers.

Top U.S. Online Video Content Properties Ranked by Unique Video Viewers
August 2013
Total U.S. – Home and Work Locations
Content Videos Only (Ad Videos Not Included)
Source: comScore Video MetrixPropertyTotal Unique Viewers (000)Videos (000)Minutes per ViewerTotal Internet : Total Audience  188,49946,746,5961,294.3Google Sites166,96617,437,897521.6AOL, Inc.71,202991,80056.8Facebook62,183803,14821.6NDN50,650569,81592.0VEVO49,371609,83342.3Microsoft Sites48,894689,70433.0Yahoo! Sites45,049368,97579.2Viacom Digital44,434452,93845.2Amazon Sites34,499133,38022.5Collective Video31,857149,31829.1

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