Hulu Now The Number Three U.S. Web Video Site. Soon To Be Number Two.

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picture-316Just last month, we wrote that Hulu had gained some 10 million viewers to become the fourth largest video portal on the web. Now, it’s slain another rival to the list: Yahoo, to move into #3 — at least in terms of videos viewed.

To be clear, the new March U.S. numbers released by comScore show that Hulu is still slightly behind Yahoo’s video properties when it comes to unique viewers. But the NBC and Fox-backed Hulu should pass it any day now in that category as well. Meanwhile, the number two player, Fox Interactive Media (which runs MySpace), is slipping just as quickly as Hulu is rising in videos viewed. It could well be as soon as this month when Hulu moves into the number two web video position.

March saw Hulu stream some 380 million videos, up from 332 million last month. Its unique viewers rose from nearly 35 million to 41 and a half million.

Interestingly, both Yahoo and FIM are still making small gains in unique visitors to their video portals, but both are seeing those users watch less videos. Hulu, on the other hand, is seeing a rush of new users, and is seeing large gains in the total number of videos viewed. Obviously, this speaks well to the company’s monetization strategy, which relies on viewers to watch more videos and sit through their short, interlaced commercials.

Meanwhile, Google, with its dominant YouTube property, shows no signs of slowing down. It crossed a hundred million unique viewers in the U.S., according to comScore’s numbers. And it gained nearly 600 million videos viewed for the month. To put that in perspective, YouTube gained more in terms of videos streamed last month that any of its rivals streamed total.

Google now controls 41 percent of the online US video market (with YouTube consisting of some 99% of that), while FIM has just 3% of the market and Hulu rising to 2.6%. Currently, Hulu’s average of 9.1 videos viewed per visitor is only behind Google and Viacom Digital. And 9.1 videos per visitor is pretty impressive considering that a lot of Hulu’s content is long-form (TV shows and movies) versus YouTube more short-form content (which boasts a huge 59 videos per viewer).

With reports continuing to suggest that a deal to bring Disney (and its ABC content) on board with Hulu is imminent, Hulu should only grow faster going forward.

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