Nielsen: YouTube Rules Online Video

New figures from Nielsen Online find that Google’s YouTube was far and away the dominant online video service during January 2008, boasting more than 3 times the number of unique users of its closest competitor.

During January, YouTube served almost 2.6 billion streams to 66.17 million unique visitors; coming in a distant second place was Fox Interactive Media—which encompasses MySpace—which served about 377 million streams to almost 19 million users. Yahoo came in third with just under 300 million streams to 22.12 million users, while Nickelodeon Kids came in fourth, pushing about 173 million streams to just over 7 million viewers.

Advertisers and marketers are carefully watching the online video space and trying to figure out ways to leverage Internet users’ obvious interest in online video with marketing and publicity campaigns. Video providers are experimenting with different advertising formats, and so far advertisers seem to believe ads in online videos are more effective than other forms of video advertising because viewers are more likely to engage with them…and are often unable to bypass or skip them. However, intrusive advertising in online video is likely to dim the medium’s appeal: few people will be willing to watch a commercial just to see a 30-second clip of a house pet doing a silly trick.

YouTube is promising it will soon make more detailed viewership data available to advertisers and marketers so they can better understand how clips are viewed and distributed.

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