YouTube, Fox, Hulu Top Online Video Rankings

YouTube, Fox Interactive Media and Hulu top research company ComScore's list of sites providing the most-watched online videos. In March 2009, according to the ComScore study, U.S. users watched about 11.5 billion online videos, an increase of 11 percent over February. The average viewer watched about 5.5 hours of online video during March.

Google's YouTube Website topped the list of sites providing most-watched online video content during March 2009, according to a study by research company ComScore.

Overall, Americans watched about 14.5 billion online videos in March, an increase of 11 percent over February. The average viewer watched about 5.5 hours of online video, with an average of 97 videos per viewer-translating into an average online video clip length of 3.4 minutes.

Out of that total number, Google had 40.9 percent of the online video market share, 99 percent of it through YouTube. Fox Interactive Media came in a distant second, with 3 percent, and Hulu came in third with 2.6 percent. Yahoo online video accounted for 2.3 percent of the total market and Microsoft was in fifth place with 2.0 percent.

The results marked the first time that Hulu became one of the top three sites.

Some 77.8 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience watches online video, according to ComScore. With that in mind, more companies have been seeking to monetize such sites in a way that justifies the enormous costs associated with maintaining, at least in the case of YouTube, the 15 hours of video uploaded to the site per minute.

Part of that quest for monetization has centered on enlisting studios to provide more professionally created content. "We are making very good progress now with small-, medium- and even large-scale studios," Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, said during an April 16 earnings call. Hulu already shows professional content-new television episodes and older movies-as it is a joint venture between NBC and Fox.

Given the reach of online video into people's lives, the enterprise has started to introduce solutions that allow businesses to monitor how their messages spread via the medium. Omniture added a feature in April 2009 to its Omniture SiteCatalyst tool that allows users to watch how a viral video spreads across YouTube and other sites.