People are watching way too much YouTube.
Google, led by YouTube.com, increased its video market share by more than two percentage points to 31.3 percent from October to November, as roughly 76 million Americans viewed 2.9 billion videos on the popular video site, according to a new report from market surveyor comScore.
Fox Interactive Media ranked a distant second with 419 million videos viewed (4.4 percent), followed by Yahoo Sites with 328 million (3.5 percent) and Viacom Digital with 304 million (2.6 percent).
Is it me, or is Google's march into Internet video beginning to resemble its domination in search? It's just past mid-January now and I have to believe that Google now commands a full third or more of the videos being watched in the market.
A year or two from now, Google could command half the market, and then who knows? Perhaps it will grow share to 60 percent, rivaling its current search lead, according to comScore.
That's all well in good but what makes Google's search share so impressive is that we know that people are clicking on ads in the process of searching, which is why the company's online ad revenues are expected to top $16 billion for 2007. (Fourth quarter revenues and full-year earnings are forthcoming Jan. 31).
People talk a lot about how lucrative mobile advertising will be, thanks to the iPhone. Google is certainly doing its part there, optimizing its Apps for the popular device.
But imagine the money Google can make if it succeeds with its in-video advertising? Imagine if the clicks Google gets in searches start to cross over to videos. Imagine if Google convinced the individual creators of YouTube's popular user-generated content to become AdSense partners. Users and Google would make out like bandits.
More than 75 percent of U.S. Internet users watched a video online and watched an average of 3.25 hours of video per person during November. What would Google's ad revenue be if people were clicking on ads at a prodigious clip? Millions, maybe a billion?
The latest report from AccuStream iMedia research said that advertising from streaming video and audio totaled about $1.37 billion last year, up 38 percent from 2006. This figure is supposed to jump significantly in the next few years.
Google, with YouTube as a weapon, can really prime the video ad pump.