Google’s YouTube video service saw record levels of traffic last month, according to research firm ComScore. The web research company said that in the month of May, YouTube served up roughly 14.6 videos in the US alone, a total of more than 100 video views per person. Both numbers were monthly records for the site in a single month. In total, ComScore estimated that users in the US viewed nearly 34 billion online videos, with YouTube and other Google sites accounting for almost 43 per cent of all views. ComScore found that 183 million unique viewers watched online video in May with each user averaging 186 million views. Of the total load, Google sites claimed 144 million users and an average of 101.2 views per person. A distant second on the rankings was Hulu. The commercial video site logged roughly 1.2 billion video views to claim a 3.5 per cent market share. Microsoft was third on the list with 642 million views, followed by Vevo and Viacom Digital video services.
Over the next few months, Sony and its competitors will introduce a new generation of Web-connected televisions—and services that will stream movies, TV shows, and music over the Internet and onto those sets. The idea is to make it easier for consumers to bypass cable and effectively create their own personal TV channels. That may sound a lot like what many people already are doing by tapping into YouTube, Hulu, and other entertainment Web sites. What’s different is that Sony and the other manufacturers are hoping to go after advertising dollars as well as subscription revenue and pay-per-view fees. Instead of using computers and mobile devices for their daily dose of free television, viewers would pay Sony or another company to watch on much more expensive equipment. Chief Executive Howard Stringer says that as consumers watch less TV in their living rooms, the industry needs to adjust quickly to the changing ways viewers take in entertainment. Last month, Sony unveiled the prototype of a TV that will deliver video and music over the Web in partnership with Google. These Google TVs are expected to be in stores by Christmas
Although Google’s purchase of YouTube hasn’t paid of financially, it has clearly made Google a giant in the world of online video, displaying more than 13 billion videos during the month of April. On Tuesday, comScore, which monitors online usages of e-commerce, advertising and video, released its April data of video usage on the Internet. According to a company press release, 178 million United States Internet users, or 83.5 percent of the total American Internet audience, watched some form of video online during April. YouTube dwarfed other competitors, dominating the attention of 135 million Web surfers, who watched more than 13 billion videos on the service. Hulu, which offers videos from mainstream media outlets, including ABC, Fox and NBC, was a distant second streaming 958 million views during the same period. Other online video outlets included Microsoft, which offers video through it’s Zune network, showed 644 million online videos, and Viacom, which owns the MTV network, showed 384 million video views. ComScore also said that all the video viewed online during the month added up to 30.3 billion clips. The average length of these videos was a relatively short 4.4 minutes long, which comes to an astounding 253,652 years of video.
Video-sharing site YouTube is taking its first steps into the online movie rental business.
The fledgling service will go live on 22 January. Initially only five films will be available to rent. The movies will come from the 2009 and 2010 Sundance Film Festival and will only be available in the US. The move for the Google owned company represents a major for the site which has been looking for ways to boost its bottom line.
“This is a huge move for YouTube in the sense of them trying to monetise the site,” Mike McGuire, principal analyst at Gartner Research told BBC News. “This certainly opens the door for them with bigger movie studios.” Content providers will be able to set their own prices, with YouTube taking a cut of the revenue. All but one of the Sundance films is being offered for $3.99 (£2.50) each for users to watch over a 48-hour viewing period.
The site which is best known for its user-generated content, including dogs on skateboards and performing cats, said 20 hours of video is uploaded every minute. Last August, Comscore reported that over 10 billion videos were streamed on YouTube.
Industry insiders say this first step into online rental is a curtain-raiser for more ambitious pay-per-view plans.
It is expected that in the near future the site will expand its rental catalogue with television shows and feature films from major studios. “Content is king in this kind of business and Sundance is a good first step,” said Mr McGuire.
“Negotiating with the major studios over distribution rights however is not for the faint hearted. Google has to perfect its delivery model and its billing system.” YouTube already offers full-length films from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s archives. It is expected similar deals like this will emerge in the coming weeks and months and extend to newer movies. In its blog, YouTube hinted at that possibility.
“In the coming weeks we’ll also invite a small group of partners across other industries, in addition to independent film, to participate in this new option.” Some industry watchers say YouTube has had a tough time in the past persuading the studios to part with their crown jewels such as newly released movies and Hollywood blockbusters.
“YouTube has had little luck over the last several years wooing major studios and networks to stream premium content on the site, which would make it easier to draw advertising,” said Ben Fritz of the Los Angeles Times. “Most studios have instead opted to put their content on Hulu, a joint venture of NBC Universal, News Corp and Walt Disney that has had more success luring marketers.”
Analysts point out that the pay-per-view movie offering will put YouTube in direct competition with other services including Apple’s iTunes store, Amazon.com and Microsoft’s XBox Live. The first five films for rent are “The Cove,” “Bass Ackwards,” “One Too Many Mornings,” “Homewrecker” and “Children of Invention.” The Sundance film festival runs until 31 January
YouTube might still reign supreme in online video, but the big surprise coming out of Nielsen’s VideoCensus release on Thursday is that Facebook is now the world’s third most popular place to view video online. According to Nielsen’s latest VideoCensus numbers, which look at the number of video views in October, YouTube serviced over 6.6 billion streams. In a distant second, Hulu offered up over 632 million video streams. But it was Facebook with over 217 million streams in October that easily beat out Bing, Yahoo, and several other online sites. In September, Facebook was ranked tenth in total streams. In October, Facebook placed second in total number of unique viewers: over 31.5 million. YouTube had almost 106 million unique viewers during October. Hulu placed fifth with 13.4 million viewers. According to Nielsen, the amount of time Web users spent viewing videos on social-networking sites increased 98 percent year over year. In October 2008, users watched 503.8 million minutes of video; they watched 999.4 million video minutes in October this year. That growth far outpaced growth in number of online video streams as a whole, which grew 26 percent year over year.
ITV and Hulu, the VoD service that will soon launch in the UK, are to sign a deal this month allowing the broadcaster to distribute full-length episodes of ITV shows on the platform.
The landmark deal will significantly boost Hulu’s UK appeal, as well as potentially transforming ITV’s online presence. As part of the deal, ITV will gain an equity stake in Hulu UK, understood to be about 25%. Hulu’s parent company is equally controlled by Disney, NBC Universal, Providence Equity and News Corp.
Some ITV shows will be available exclusively on Hulu UK. ITV is the only UK broadcaster expected to sign an exclusive online content deal with Hulu. Central to the deal has been a resolution to disagreements over who will sell advertising around ITV content on Hulu. But it is understood both companies have come to what one source called a “happy compromise”. An agreement allowing Hulu to distribute clips or short versions of ITV shows is understood to already be in place and a deal for full-length ITV shows is close. Following the deal, Hulu plans to appoint its first UK chief executive. Its plans to launch in the UK are being handled by Hulu’s senior vice-president of international, Johannes Larcher. Hulu was expected to launch earlier this year following the demise of Project Kangaroo, the online VoD venture backed by ITV, Channel 4 and BBC Worldwide, which was blocked by competition regulators in February. However, since then, the online video market has changed markedly with the launch of MSN Video and the imminent launch of YouTube’s long-form service and SeeSaw, the VoD service formed from the remnants of Project Kangaroo.
ITV and Hulu declined to comment.
Nielsen Co. has wrapped an important meeting with 80 clients from companies that included CBS, NBC, ABC, Microsoft, Time Warner, Comcast and Hulu where the topic was how best to move ahead with developing a single-source system that will measure both television and Internet media consumption in the home.
The push from some clients is to get such a system up and running by late 2010. Nielsen has been pushing for the middle of 2011. Putting the squeeze on to move up the timeline are cable giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable, according to a person at the meeting. Both are pushing new online viewing services and have lined up several major cable networks to provide content.
Currently, Nielsen has people meters in about 18,000 homes. It’s those meters that provide the ratings responsible for billions of dollars’ worth of ad sales. As more and more people start to watch content online on sites such as Hulu or YouTube, content providers and distributors want solid numbers to sell advertising. Nielsen has been testing measuring for both TV and Internet viewing in about 395 homes. Nielsen measures online usage in a separate sample that tracks about 200,000 people. If you are wondering, like I was, why the Internet sample is so big, that’s because while Nielsen only tracks about 100 channels, it follows 20,000 websites.
There was a “broad agreement” of adding Internet measurement in the households that already have people meters,” said Sara Erichson, Nielsen’s president of Media Client Services, who ran the get-together at the Harvard Club in midtown Manhattan.
The challenge, Erichson said, is finding homes that will allow for both the people meter and the software that goes inside the computer to measure Web watching.
“Tens of billions of dollars are transacted off of these numbers; we want to make sure that by asking people to do both, you don’t have fewer people saying yes,” she said. “Can we do it faster without negatively impacting quality” is the issue, she added
Warner Music Group and YouTube are finalizing an agreement that would allow music videos from artists such as Madonna and Green Day to once again be featured on the popular web site, according to sources close to the deal.
The deal, which one source described as imminent, would resolve a dispute over licensing rights that caused Warner Music to pull music videos by its artists from Google Inc’s YouTube in December.
A deal would mean that Warner Music’s stable of artists would once again appear on the world’s most popular video sharing site, joining those from EMI Music, Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, all of which have renewed deals.
Financial details are unclear; but Warner Music Chief Executive Edgar Bronfman has made known his desire to improve terms of his previous deal with YouTube. Like other industry executives, he faces a music market that has been stung by tumbling CD sales and slowing digital music growth.
The deal would also open the door to a possible role for Warner in a new music video website called Vevo, which is backed by Universal and Sony and will be supported by YouTube’s technology platform.
At the moment, talks about Warner joining Vevo are still in “early stages” and could break down over a range of issues, one source said. The source declined to be named because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.
Music industry insiders say that Web videos are catching up with radio and music television as one of the most important music discovery tools for fans.
They say Vevo would create a more sophisticated way to experience music on the web, describing a site that would be the music industry’s version of Hulu, the popular U.S.-based online TV service backed by NBC Universal, News Corp and Walt Disney Co.
Former Universal Music digital chief Rio Caraeff was appointed as Vevo’s top executive earlier this summer. The venture has held talks with major advertisers and deals with at least four big brand names are expected to be ready in time for its debut later this year.