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Too much time on YouTube? Better worry about the TV instead!

Recent data from comScore underlines the increasing popularity of online video. In the month of July, a whopping 158 million U.S. Internet users – or 80% of the nation’s online population – watched a total of 21.4 billion videos. The average duration of each clip was 3.7 minutes, which means each viewer watched about 500 minutes or 8.3 hours for the month.

The popular Google sites, including YouTube, continued to dominate the market, accounting for 8.9 billion videos or 42% of all videos viewed online.  Viacom Digital ranked a distant second with a 3.8% market share (812 million videos), followed by various Microsoft sites at 3% (631 million videos).

The July data also detailed the increasing popularity of online TV, with comScore reporting that Hulu, the marker leader, was watched at least once by 38 million people. Its total video count of 457 million for the month was only good enough for a 2.1% market share but that still represents impressive growth for a medium that relies on recycling conventional TV shows for its content.

So who is watching all this online video? Well, contrary to popular belief, it’s not just teens. According to a comprehensive study by Nielsen Media Research released in June of this year, teens love the Internet but spend far less time browsing than adults: 11 hours 32 minutes per month vs. an average of 29 hours and 15 minutes for the population as a whole. Plus, teens spend around 35% less time watching online videos than adults 25-34.

In fact, one conclusion of the study is that teens are clearly not abandoning TV for new media, with TV time for U.S. teens higher than ever, up 6% over the past five years.

So, overall, how does online video rank against the traditional tube? Well, it seems that the average U.S. household is not about to abandon its multiple TVs just yet. Again, according to Nielsen, the average amount of time each individual over the age of two spends in front of the TV is 274 minutes or about 4½ hours per day. That’s 135 hours per month or 12 years of continuous TV over a 65-year life!

Compared to those stats, online video is just a mere beginner. The amount of time spent watching online video over the course of a month is surpassed by the average TV watcher in just two days!     

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