US internet users watched 8.9 billion videos on Google (GOOG) sites last month. Ninety-nine percent of those were from YouTube. According to comScore, Google had 42% of the online video market in July.
What is more stunning about YouTube is that the average number of videos watch per viewer during the month was 74. At most other major sites, the figure was closer to 10.
YouTube has almost no premium content, so its visitors are mostly idiots who come to see “poking kids with sharp sticks”, one of the most popular videos on the site right now. It is no wonder YouTube loses what industry experts believe is hundreds of millions of dollars a year for Google. Advertisers do not want to be associated with weird content shot at low resolution.
Premium content sites are still probably not large enough to be very profitable. Hulu, the largest web destination set up with only high end TV and film video, ranked sixth among US video sites in July with 38 million unique visitors. But, Google’s number was 121 million which shows that people still gravitate to amateur content and music videos. The average Hulu visitor only watches 10 videos a month.
Social media sites are becoming big video destinations although it is not clear how they can profit from the trend. Facebook had 20 million unique visitors to its video content in July. Fox Interactive, which is primarily MySpace, had 52 million.
There were a total of 21 billion videos viewed online in July and, as far as anyone knows, no one is making money on that content.
Douglas A. McIntyre