YouTube, Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) huge video site, known at the place you can “broadcast yourself”, held its spot as the largest video website in the U.S. in December, and did so by a staggering margin. While its competitors would like to match it in popularity, it is highly unlikely that will happen anytime soon. However, some have models which may make them money despite trailing the Google property by a mile
According to research firm Comscore:
Google Sites, driven primarily by video viewing at YouTube.com, ranked as the top online video content property in December with 159.1 million unique viewers. Facebook ranked #2 with 79.1 million viewers, followed by AOL, Inc. with 76.2 million, Yahoo sites with 53.5 million and NDN with 49.4 million. Nearly 52.4 billion video content views occurred during the month, with Google Sites generating the highest number at 13.4 billion, followed by Facebook with 3.7 billion and AOL, Inc. with 1.4 billion. Google Sites had the highest average engagement among the top ten properties.
Google’ sites had an average “minutes per viewer” of 1,154 in December. As a contrast, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) sites had a comparable number of 36.9.
The hope that YouTube competitors have is that, even at smaller numbers, they can make money—if they sell enough advertising or subscriptions, depending on which of the two models they favor. Advertising CPMs for video are much higher than for banners. This may make the amount of video viewed at Aol (NASDAQ: AOL), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), and Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) adequate to drive profits.
Subscription based sites have the opportunity to charge sufficiently for premium video content to make viable businesses. Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) with its “prime” video service. And, Amazon ranked sixth among all sites in terms of December unique visits. Hulu, which has gambled people will pay for access to its “Hulu Plus” product, does not make the top 10 list at all.
And, YouTube poses a problem beyond its size. It also has launched paid premium video services, and sells video advertising. YouTube may be large enough to pull so much share out of the market to overwhelm its smaller rivals.