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YouTube Top Video Site; Hulu Gaining But Far Behind

Unique Viewers 35+ Enjoy Long-Form Video, Drive Growth to Hulu

Nielsen Online, a division of The Nielsen Company, today announced that YouTube continued to rank as the No. 1 video Web brand with 5.5 billion total streams in April. Meanwhile, Hulu continued its explosive growth trajectory, increasing 490 percent in total streams year-over-year, from 63.2 million in April 2008 to 373.3 million in April 2009, making it the fastest growing brand among the top 10 (see Table 1).

“Historically short form, clip-length video has ruled streaming on the Web–as demonstrated by YouTube’s top spot month after month. Hulu, along with pure-play providers like Veoh and the TV networks, have spent the past two years trying to convince consumers that the Internet can be a good place to watch full length programming as well. April’s strong showings of Hulu, Fox, and ABC suggest that consumers are beginning to listen,” said Jon Gibs, vice president, media & analytics, Nielsen Online.

Table 1: Top Online Video Brands Ranked by Total Streams for April 2009, Including Their Month-over-Month and Year-over-Year Growth (U.S., Home and Work)

Video Brand Apr-09 Total Streams (000) Month-over-Month % Change Year-over-Year % Change Share of Streams
Overall Online Video Usage 9,452,996 -2.3% 24.2% 100.0%
YouTube 5,490,204 0.2% 35.5% 58.1%
Hulu 373,290 7.1% 490.4% 3.9%
Yahoo! 203,628 -12.2% -8.1% 2.2%
Fox Interactive Media 201,362 -3.0% -38.8% 2.1%
Nickelodeon Kids and Family Network 175,917 -10.3% 15.9% 1.9%
MSN/Windows Live 164,422 -2.7% 9.8% 1.7%
ABC.COM 148,830 -15.9% 144.8% 1.6%
MTV Networks Music 143,356 15.7% 359.6% 1.5%
Turner Sports and Entertainment Digital Network 130,559 -5.1% 60.0% 1.4%
CNN Digital Network 112,469 8.7% 32.7% 1.2%

Source: Nielsen VideoCensus

Note: Includes progressive downloads and excludes video advertising.}

Time Spent Viewing per Viewer Grows 29 Percent among People 35-49
In April 2009, people between the ages of 35 and 49, were the fastest growing demographic in time spent viewing per viewer, increasing 29 percent during the past six months. This was 13 percentage points higher than the growth of time spent viewing per viewer for the overall market, which increased 16 percent over the same 6-month period (see Table 2).

“Despite what many believe, it is not the young, tech-savvy, early-adopters who are attracted to long-form video. In fact, we see that it is the older crowd, viewers 35+, who gravitate toward long-form video, with sites like Hulu acting as a perfect example of this,” said Gibs. “And advertisers are paying attention. They see long-form video sites like Hulu as a safe bet for online advertising, recognizing that their key audiences are there and more willing to sit through an online advertisement while watching a favorite show, much as they do with the TV.”

Table 2: Growth in Time Spent Viewing per Viewer over the Past 6-Months by Demographic Group (U.S., Home and Work)

Nov-08 Time per Viewer (min) Apr-09 Time per Viewer (min) % Change Over 6 Months
Total 178 206 16%
Male 209 249 19%
Female 151 170 12%
2 – 11 113 116 3%
12 – 17 178 190 7%
18 – 24 303 349 15%
25 – 34 253 296 17%
35 – 49 187 243 29%
50 – 64 122 139 14%
65+ 67 81 21%

Source: Nielsen VideoCensus

In April 2009, three of the top five sites–Hulu, and–ranked by time spent viewing among people 35 to 49 were sites with long-form video. Compared to six months ago, only one of the top five was a long-form video viewing destination.

Table 3: Top 5 Sites for People Aged 35-49 Ranked by Time Spent Viewing for April 2009 and November 2008 (U.S., Home and Work)

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Nov-08 Apr-09
Site Time Spent Viewing (000) Site Time Spent Viewing (000)
YouTube 2,740,328 YouTube 2,983,430
Hulu 372,407 Hulu 933,252
Megavideo 225,325 ABC.COM 313,483
CNN Digital Network 153,705 215,302
Nickelodeon Kids and Family Network 143,086 CNN Digital Network 187,471

Source: Nielsen VideoCensus

Diving Deeper: Time Spent Viewing on Hulu Increases 119 Percent, Driven by People 35+
Since its inception as a joint-venture between NBC and News Corp, Hulu has experienced meteoric growth in all aspects of video viewing, especially in time spent. Total time spent viewing increased 119 percent between November 2008 and April 2009. As more people frequent Hulu and stream more videos, more time is also spent watching these videos. Time spent viewing per viewer increased 120 percent, from 147 minutes in November 2008 to 325 minutes in April 2009.

Helping to drive this impressive growth for Hulu are unique viewers between 35 and 49, who in April represented 30 percent of total Hulu viewers. They also spent more time on the site than any other age group, with an average of 416 minutes spent viewing per viewer during the month, 10 percent more than any other demographic group on Hulu. During the past six months, time spent per viewer for the 35 to 49 demographic group has increased 154 percent (see Table 4).

“Hulu’s growth in time spent viewing illustrates that they are setting the pace in the video market. Although this growth has a lot to do with a good interface and excellent programming, Hulu’s aggressive marketing campaign, starting with their first TV ad at the Superbowl, seems to have given them a bounce that they haven’t yet fallen from,” noted Gibs.

Table 4: Growth in Time Spent Viewing per Viewer over the Past 6-Months for Hulu (U.S., Home and Work)

Age Group Nov-08 Time per Viewer (min) Apr-09 Time per Viewer (min) % Change Over 6 Months
2 – 11 50 122 143%
12 – 17 78 129 65%
18 – 24 151 379 151%
25 – 34 237 353 49%
35 – 49 164 416 154%
50 – 64 100 284 184%
65+ 27 151 232%

Source: Nielsen VideoCensus

VideoCensus Methodology and Metrics:
Nielsen Online’s VideoCensus combines patented panel and census research methodologies to provide an accurate count of viewing activity and engagement along with in-depth demographic reporting. Online video viewing is tracked according to video player, which can be used on site or embedded elsewhere on the Web. For example, if a “Saturday Night Live” clip from is embedded on a personal blog, that video would be attributed to NBC because of the NBC video player.

A unique viewer is anyone who viewed a full episode, part of an episode or a program clip during the month. A stream is a program segment. VideoCensus measurement does not include video advertising.

About Nielsen Online:
Nielsen Online, a service of The Nielsen Company, delivers comprehensive, independent measurement and analysis of online and mobile audiences, advertising, video, consumer-generated media, word-of-mouth, commerce and consumer behavior. With high quality, technology-driven products and services, Nielsen Online enables clients to make informed business decisions regarding their Internet, mobile and digital marketing strategies.

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