As traffic to Facebook continues to grow, the social network is beginning to emerge as an important stakeholder in the online video space. According to online measurement firm comScore, the number of users viewing video on the site has been growing consistently over the past twelve months, and it could end the year with the second greatest reach of all online video providers in the U.S., second only to YouTube owner Google.
Data from comScore’s Video Metrix service suggests the number of unique U.S. users viewing video content on Facebook has grown from 13.3 million in April 2009 to 41.3 million in April 2010, representing year-over-year growth of almost 211 percent.
In the two-month period ending April 30, unique viewers grew from 36.6 million to 41.3 million, positioning Facebook as the fifth largest video property on the Internet in terms of reach behind Google sites, Yahoo sites, Fox Interactive Media properties, and Vevo. If Facebook continues to grow its audience at its current rate, however, it’s on course to take the second spot by the end of 2010.
Though much of the content currently available on Facebook comes in the form of embedded YouTube units, comScore’s numbers only reflect video content hosted by Facebook itself. Views of YouTube video on Facebook therefore contribute towards Google’s total, suggesting the social network’s role in delivering video content to users is larger than the numbers suggest.
Research released this week by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project also suggests users are beginning to gravitate towards social networks rather than dedicated video sharing sites to host their content. Though working with a relatively small sample of 1,005 U.S. adults, Pew found that 52 percent of video uploaders said they post to social networks, compared with 49 percent that post to video sites such as YouTube.
It’s important to note, however, that scale does not yet constitute volume for Facebook video. On average, users viewed just 5.6 videos on Facebook during April, compared to an average of around 7.5 per user on Yahoo and Vevo, and a whopping 96 videos per user on Google properties. Long-form video site Hulu also attracted an average of over 24 views per user.
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