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
Total U.S. – Home and Work Locations
Content Videos Only (Ad Videos Not Included)
Source: comScore Video Metrix Property Total Unique Viewers (000) Videos (000) Minutes per Viewer Total Internet : Total Audience 188,499 46,746,596 1,294.3 Google Sites 166,966 17,437,897 521.6 AOL, Inc. 71,202 991,800 56.8 Facebook 62,183 803,148 21.6 NDN 50,650 569,815 92.0 VEVO 49,371 609,833 42.3 Microsoft Sites 48,894 689,704 33.0 Yahoo! Sites 45,049 368,975 79.2 Viacom Digital 44,434 452,938 45.2 Amazon Sites 34,499 133,380 22.5 Collective Video 31,857 149,318 29.1