YouTube Audience Larger than All Rivals

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Essentially everybody knows YouTube is the 800 pound gorilla of the online video marketplace—after all, that’s why Google spent over $1.6 billion to acquire the company in October of 2006. But according to market measurement firm Hitwise, YouTube not only commands a larger share of the online video marketplace than any of its rivals: it commands a share of the online video marketplace larger than all of its rivals combined.

According to a Hitwise survey, YouTube’s share of the online video space increased 70 percent between January and May 2007 to command 60.2 percent of the market. The increase comes despite the fact YouTube has been forced to remove tens of thousands of videos from its service due to allegations of infringement from copyright holders, and the fact the company currently faces a $1 billion suit from Viacom over unauthorized distribution of copyrighted content.

Compared to YouTube’s 60.2 percent of the market, in May the next 64 largest video sharing sites combined commanded a total of 30 percent of the online video marketplace. YouTube’s largest rivals were MySpace with 16.08 percent of the market (MySpace just announced a new video sharing service) YouTube sibling Google Video (with 7.81 percent), with Yahoo and MSN carving out 2.77 percent and 2.09 percent of the market, respectively.

Much of YouTube’s content comes from its users, in the form of amateur and enthusiast videos which range in quality from jerky montages captured by a cell phone camera to professionally-produced and scripted mini-productions done for fun and (occasionally) profit. The steady growth in YouTube’s user base may indicate that, contrary to the sense of big media companies, user-generated media may actually be a driving factor for YouTube, rather than purloined clips of copyrighted programming.

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