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YouTube & BrightRoll Leapfrog Past Hulu and Adap.tv in Video Ads

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Over the past five months, Google sites, driven primarily by YouTube, and the BrightRoll Video Network have both leapfrogged past Hulu and Adap.tv to become the top U.S. video ad properties ranked by video ads viewed, according to comScore Video Metrix. At the same time, the TubeMogul Video Ad Platform has vaulted over five other U.S. video ad properties to land in fifth place in the rankings.

This shake up in the video ad rankings comes during a period when video advertising was breaking records month after month. Americans viewed 11 billion video ads in June 2012 compared to 10 billion in May, 9.5 billion in April, 8.3 billion in March, and 7.5 billion in February.

It’s difficult to compare apples to apples going back any farther because comScore Video Metrix started including certain YouTube formats in its February reporting. However, comScore still doesn’t include promoted videos on YouTube or homepage ads in its video ad data for Google Sites.

So, the first-place ranking of Google sites is based on streaming-video advertising only. If other types of video monetization, such as overlays, branded players, matching banner ads, or homepage ads were included, then the lead of Google sites over the other video ad properties would be even greater.

And YouTube represents more than 99 percent of the video viewing at Google sites. So, YouTube alone would rank first based on streaming-video advertising only. And YouTube’s lead over the other video ad properties would be even greater if promoted videos, homepage ads, overlays, and display ads were counted.

To get an idea of just how dramatically the landscape has changed, let’s compare the latest data with comparable data from five months ago.

In June 2012, more than 180 million U.S. Internet users watched 33 billion online content videos. Google/YouTube ranked as the top online video content property that month with 154.5 million unique viewers, followed by Yahoo sites with 51.5 million, Facebook with 49 million, VEVO with 46.2 million, and Viacom Digital with 38.9 million.

In February 2012, 179 million U.S. Internet users watched nearly 38 billion videos of online video content. Google/YouTube ranked as the top online video content property that month with 147.4 million unique viewers, followed by Yahoo sites with 60.9 million, VEVO with 52 million, Facebook with 43.6 million and Viacom Digital with 43.2 million.

So, video viewers have increased 4.8 percent at YouTube and 12.4 percent at Facebook, while they’ve decreased 15.4 percent at Yahoo sites, 11.2 percent at VEVO, and almost 10 percent at Viacom Digital.

In June 2012, online video advertising had another record-breaking month with 11 billion total video ad streams. Google sites ranked first with 1.41 billion ads, followed by BrightRoll Video Network with nearly 1.39 billion, Hulu with 1.33 billion, Adap.tv with 1.15 billion and TubeMogul Video Ad Platform with 1.04 billion.

In February 2012, Americans viewed 7.5 billion video ads. Hulu ranked first with more than 1.5 billion ads, followed by Google sites with 1.1 billion, Adap.tv with 706 million, BrightRoll Video Network with 683 million, and Specific Media with 611 million.

So, video ads viewed have increased 28.2 percent at YouTube, 103.5 percent BrightRoll, 211.3 percent at TubeMogul, and 13.6 percent Specific Media, while it has decreased 11.3 percent at Hulu.

So, what’s happened to Hulu in the race for the top ad rankings?

On April 22, 2012, Bill Carter of NYTimes.com wrote an article entitled, “Prime-Time Ratings Bring Speculation of a Shift in Habits.” He said, “Across the television landscape, network and cable, public television and pay cable, English-language and Spanish, viewing for all sorts of prime-time programming is down this spring — chiefly among the most important audience for the business, younger adults.”

In the four television weeks starting March 19, ABC lost an average of 681,000 viewers (21 percent) in that 18-to-49 age category compared with the same period last year, Fox lost 709,000 (20 percent), CBS lost 239,000 (8 percent), and NBC lost 59,000 (about 3 percent).

On July 18, 2012, Gary Levin of USAToday.com wrote an article entitled, “TV networks are stuck in a summer swoon.” He said, “At summer’s midpoint, most network reality shows have returned below last year’s viewing levels, including NBC’s America’s Got Talent, with new judge Howard Stern, ABC’s The Bachelorette, and CBS’ Big Brother.”

All told, the four big broadcast networks are down 6 percent – and down 10 percent among young adults.

Since Hulu features videos from ABC (owned by Disney), FOX (owned by News Corporation), and NBCUniversal (owned by Comcast), maybe the lack of hit shows on TV is to blame for the decline in video ads viewed on the site.

On July 19, 2012, Nicholas Carlson of Business Insider wrote, “Hulu CEO Jason Kilar Doesn’t Have A Contract, And Negotiations Haven’t Started.” He said, “The hold-up is that Hulu parent companies Disney, Comcast, and News Corporation are in talks with its fourth part-owner, Providence Equity Partners, about buying out its stake.”

Carlson added, “We’re also told that Hulu's parent companies are not certain that they want to keep him.”

So, maybe a shift in habits by younger adults and the lack of hit shows on TV are only partly to blame for Hulu’s decline.

Stay tuned. Don’t touch that dial. Film at 11.


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