May 2011 Online Video Rankings: Nielsen, comScore Agree to Disagree

The latest video ranking data for May 2011 is now available and about the only thing that any of the market research firms seem to agree upon is that online video and YouTube are bigger than a breadbox.

For example, Nielsen reports that there were 145 million unique viewers streamed online video in the U.S. in May for an average of 4.3 hours per viewer.  However, comScore Video Metrix reports that 176 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content in May for an average of 15.9 hours per viewer.

Yes, they have different methodologies, but give me a break.

The delta (31 million) between the two sets of data about the number of Americans who watched video online that month is halfway between the population of Texas (25 million) and the population of California (37 million).

And the delta (11.6 hours) between the two sets of data about the average amount of time a viewer spent watching video in May is greater than the amount of time the typical American spent watching American Idol (which is one of the highest-rated TV shows in the history of television) that month.

But wait, there’s more!

According to Nielsen, YouTube was the top online video destination with 111.8 million unique viewers in May, followed by VEVO with 36.4 million viewers, Facebook with 29.2 million viewers, and Yahoo with 26.2 million viewers.

But according to comScore Video Metrix, Google Sites, driven primarily by video viewing at, ranked as the top online video content property in May with 147.2 million unique viewers, followed by VEVO with 60.4 million viewers, Yahoo Sites with 55.5 million viewers, and with 48.2 million viewers.
(I asked the folks at comScore to break out YouTube from Google Sites and gets more than 99 percent of the viewers to Google Sites.)

Oh, and if you use Compete to get a third opinion, it reports had 142.7 million unique visitors in May 2011, had 126.6 million visitors, Yahoo Video had 6.0 million, and had 2.9 million.  Yep, that’s a totally different set of numbers.

Now, not everyone who visits Facebook watches videos on the social networking site. And YouTube allows you to share videos with your Facebook friends through an integrated sharing feature. You can also manually post YouTube videos on your Facebook wall and status by copying and pasting a URL.

If you want to see an example, go to the SES Conference & Expo Facebook page.  You’ll see “Meet the experts: SES Toronto 2011 attendees get to network with SES panelists and speakers,” which was uploaded to YouTube on June 15.

YouTube Video in Facebook

So, how do you count that?

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