In Depth

YouTube Stays on Top Despite Hulu’s Rapid Growth, Nielsen Says

YouTube remains the No. 1 online video site, even as Hulu continues to grow exponentially, Nielsen Online reports.

Hulu is the fastest-growing site among Nielsen Online’s top 10 video brand sites, which include YouTube, Yahoo!, Fox Interactive Media, Nickelodeon Kids & Family Network, MSN/Windows Live, ABC.com, MTV Networks Music and Turner Sports & Entertainment Digital.

YouTube delivered 5.5 billion total streams in April, while Hulu increased 490% from 63.2 million streams in April 2008 to hit 373.3 million in April ’09.

Total time spent viewing also increased for Hulu, growing 119% between November 2008 and April 2009. Time spent viewing per viewer increased 120% to 325 minutes in April.

Jon Gibs, vice president of media and analytics for Nielsen Online, attributed Hulu’s growth to “a good interface and excellent, aggressive marketing campaign.”

“Historically, short-form, clip-length video has ruled streaming on the Web—as demonstrated by YouTube’s top spot month after month,” Mr. Gibbs added. “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.”

Nielsen’s report also found that people age 35-49 was the fastest-growing demographic for time spent viewing during April. Among that demographic, the top five sites were YouTube, Hulu, ABC.com, NBC.com and the CNN Digital network. Unique viewers age 35-49 represented 30% of total Hulu viewers in April.

“Despite what many believe, it is not the young, tech-savvy, early adopters who are attracted to long-form video,” Mr. Gibs said in a statement. “In fact, we see that it is the older crowd, viewers 35-plus, who gravitate toward long-form video, with sites like Hulu acting as a perfect example of this.

“Advertisers are paying attention,” Mr. Gibs added. “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.”