Special Report

The Most Popular Video Sites in America

10. CBS Interactive
> Unique viewers: 31.14 million
> Videos viewed: 213.63 million
> Minutes per viewer: 45.3
> Parent company: CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS)

Like Viacom, CBS has primarily sought to use online video as a driver of traffic to its TV programming. The company has licensing deals with Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), Amazon and Hulu, among others, and that is likely helping push up revenues. In the second quarter of 2013, CBS reported licensing and distribution revenues rose by $181 million year-over-year to nearly $1 billion and cited digital streaming as a primary reason. CBS Interactive also includes technology sites CNET and ZDNet, music site Last.fm and CBSSports.com. Twitter last month signed a deal with CBS, similar to the one it has with Viacom. A cynic might say that CBS Interactive represents the best of the old-line media companies in the brave new online world.

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9. Amazon Sites
> Unique viewers: 32.91 million
> Videos viewed: 143.21 million
> Minutes per viewer: 24.2
> Parent company: Amazon.com

The surprising statistic for Amazon is the small amount of time that viewers spend watching video on its sites. The company’s streaming catalog includes movies and TV shows that are long-form videos, and we’d expect viewers to be spending a lot more than a mere 24 minutes on them. One plausible explanation for the short viewing time is that Amazon Prime users actually download videos rather than streaming them. Sales and rentals may be more important to Amazon’s overall business than the streaming business. The social media aspect of video, which feasts on seconds-long content, probably is not a big driver to Amazon content, and likely never will be.

8. Viacom Digital
> Unique viewers: 38.21 million
> Videos viewed: 404.01 million
> Minutes per viewer: 44.7
> Parent company: Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB)

Viacom owns several TV properties, including MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, as well as movie studio Paramount. Like other content providers, Viacom licenses and syndicates clips to partners and offers full episodes of some of its TV properties on its various websites. The company has a partnership with Twitter that allows Viacom to embed videos with advertising in its tweets. The company also signed a deal with Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) in August, licensing to Sony the rights to stream Viacom’s TV channels over the Internet, including via the new PlayStation 4.

7. Yahoo! Sites
> Unique viewers: 44.80 million
> Videos viewed: 322.83 million
> Minutes per viewer: 63.7
> Parent company: Yahoo!

Due to its size, Yahoo! has tremendous leverage to make video revenue an important part of its overall sales. The strong presence of video in sports and celebrity content across all forms of media should help Yahoo! implement its strategy to bring more video marketers online. Yahoo! also has developed video partnerships with all four major networks, as well as Hulu. The company’s deal with ABC, which is owned by the Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS), announced in October 2011, is probably the most important of these. Because Yahoo!’s traditional ad revenue is eroding, it is essential that its advertising initiatives are successful. Yahoo! was once the leader in display advertising, but Facebook and Google have passed it. Research firm eMarketer also reported that Yahoo!’s cut of digital revenue will drop to 7.7% in 2013, from 8.6% in 2012.

> Unique viewers: 48.99 million
> Videos viewed: 617.36 million
> Minutes per viewer: 42.2
> Parent company: Consortium including Sony, Universal Music Group, Google and Abu Dhabi Media

Three of the four major record labels promote their music and music videos on VEVO.com and through the company’s mobile apps. Via a partnership with Google, the company is able to distribute its content through a YouTube channel to more than 200 countries. VEVO might be described as a global MTV for the Web generation. Its ties with the highly selective music industry give it rights to an enormous catalog of music. Direct revenue to the music companies probably is not going to make up for the loss of CD sales.

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