Why Google's Grasp on Online Video May Be Greater Than Its Search Share

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-09-29

Google is dominant in search, but its plot of the online video market may have more staying power.

Google retained its rank as the top U.S. digital video property, with more than 10 billion videos viewed in August, according to comScore. The research firm said 161 million U.S. Internet users watched more than 25 billion online videos during August, the largest audience ever recorded.  

YouTube accounted for 99 percent of all videos viewed at Google, which accounted for 40 percent of all videos watched on the Web. At No. 2, Microsoft can't even smell, let alone see Google, with 547 million videos viewed online, or 2.2 percent of the videos viewed. Google is nearly 40 percentage points ahead of Microsoft in online video market share.

Consider that comScore also claimed Google commands 65 percent of the search engine market. Yahoo holds roughly 20 percent, or some 45 percentage points less than Google. If Microsoft succeeds in partnering with Yahoo in search, it will theoretically power 30 percent or more of the world's searches, closing the gap against Google in a big way.

Microsoft has less chance of closing the gap in online video versus Google because, unlike search, where a handful of players rule the roost, online video boasts a long, long tail. Microsoft would have to buy several properties to approach Google's plot.

Case in point: Viacom Digital followed Microsoft closely with 539 million videos viewed, or 2.1 percent of videos viewed. Hulu, armed with a high-quality viewing experience and strong advertising presence that features Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, among others, ranked No. 4 with 488 million videos viewed. That was good for nearly 2 percent of the market in August.

Even if Microsoft bought both Viacom Digital and Hulu it still would only have 6 percent of the U.S. video-viewing market, dwarfed by Google's 40 percent video market share.

Imagine if Google had acquired Brightcove, as rumored. Google would dominate commercial Web video as well. For now, Google's share of course comes courtesy of YouTube, which has done some wheeling and dealing of late.

According to AdAge and others, Warner Music Group has agreed with YouTube on a deal that will bring back music videos for Green Day, REM, Madonna and others to YouTube from which they were removed in December.

In other video news, ComScore also said more than 161 million viewers watched an average of 157 videos per viewer during the month of August. Google Sites attracted 121.4 million unique viewers during the month, or 82.8 videos per viewer. Microsoft followed with 54.9 million viewers, or 10 videos per viewer. Yahoo Sites was No. 3, with 51.6 million viewers -- 6.9 videos per viewer.

Other noteworthy stats:

  • 81.6 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.

  • The average online video viewer watched 582 minutes of video, or 9.7 hours.

  • 120.5 million viewers watched nearly 10 billion videos on YouTube.com (82.6 videos per viewer).

  • 44.9 million viewers watched 340 million videos on MySpace.com (7.6 videos per viewer).

  • The average Hulu viewer watched 12.7 videos, totaling 1 hour and 17 minutes of videos per viewer.

  • The duration of the average online video was 3.7 minutes.

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