Video Traffic: Whom Do You Believe?

Is something desperately wrong here? comScore released August video metrics and found the following:

  • In August, 6.98 billion video streams were initiated by U.S. Internet users.
  • The average U.S. streamer consumed 63.3 streams during August, or approximately 2 streams per day.
  • Streamers at Fox Interactive showed the highest levels of video consumption per person at 35.5 streams per streamer, followed by Yahoo! Sites (20.6 streams per streamer) and YouTube (19.4 streams per streamer).
  • The U.S streaming audience increased 4 percent from July to reach 110.3 million streamers in August, representing about 64 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience.
  • Yahoo! Sites attracted the most streamers in August with 39.9 million, followed by Fox Interactive (39.5 million) and YouTube (35.5 million).

Using “share of streams,” comScore ranked video sites accordingly:

  1. Fox Interactive (MySpace)
  2. Yahoo! Sites
  3. YouTube
  4. Viacom Digital
  5. Time Warner Network
  6. Microsoft Sites
  7. Google Sites
  8. Ebaumsworld.com
  9. Comcast Corporation
  10. Real.com Network

Using video audience reach, comScore ranked video sites this way:

  1. Yahoo! Sites
  2. Fox Interactive
  3. YouTube
  4. Time Warner Network
  5. Microsoft Sites
  6. Viacom Digital
  7. Google Sites
  8. MLB
  9. Ebaumsworld.com
  10. Sony Online

Yet Hitwise continues to affirm that YouTube is the market leader. Here’s Bill Tancer’s recent blog post. I don’t have the most recent Hitwise video numbers, but here’s the video market share data the company put out in August this year:

video aug06.png

Share of visits:

  • YouTube: 45.46%
  • MySpace Videos: 22.99%
  • Google Video: 10.25%
  • Yahoo! Video: 6.06%
  • MSN Video: 5.92%

Tancer says the following about trending: “Our weekly chart shows the magnitude of Google Video’s increase last week alongside YouTube’s continued rapid climb. MySpace Vids and Yahoo! Video demonstrate moderate to flat growth since July.”

Here’s (unreliable) data I got from Alexa:

website traffic graphs comparing youtube.com, vids.myspace.com, video.msn.com, video.yahoo.com and video.google.com

And here’s a comparison at similarly unreliable Google Trends:

youtube myspace video yahoo video google video msn video

There are many caveats that need to be mentioned regarding Alexa and Google Trends. I won’t go into them other than to say they’re only directional at best and Alexa, apparently, can be manipulated. In addition, in the case of Google, Yahoo! and MSN, Alexa appears to be picking up traffic to the main domain rather than the video domain that I plugged in. But in both cases, they show YouTube ahead of MySpace in video traffic/reach.

Nielsen//NetRatings reported that YouTube had (only) 19.6 monthly uniques in June, 2006. comScore, by contrast, said that YouTube had roughly 35.5 million “unique streamers” in August.

The market “consensus” seems to be that YouTube is ahead of MySpace, as well as the other video sites in terms of traffic and reach. comScore’s metric “streams” seems to be eqivalent to time on site or engagement. But its ranking of sites by reach seems to be distinctly at odds with other traffic data.

Here’s my previous post about traffic measurement problems, citing the recent BusinessWeek article on the subject. And here’s my earlier post on these dueling video metrics.

As I said before, traffic measurement is the new click fraud.  (Sort of a play on ” . . . is the new black.”)

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2 Responses to “Video Traffic: Whom Do You Believe?”

  1. Raise bar for newspaper design investments : Small Initiatives - Sensible Internet Design Says:

    […] Meanwhile, on the Internet side of things (where everything is measurable but you have to decide whose measures to trust), respected usability experts warn us to avoid total Web site overhauls in favor of strategic design incrementalism. I don’t agree in every case, but often I do. And I believe the line of reasoning applies as well to printed periodicals as Web sites. […]

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