Web traffic analyst firm Comscore has released their numbers for July and the most striking finding was that traffic to MySpace Video has doubled since June. Prime competitor YouTube saw a 20% increase according to Comscore, putting the site in the top 50 sites visited on the web. Still leading the online video pack? Yahoo! Video, with 21.1 million visitors, up 28-percent from June.
Traffic numbers are a real stab in the dark, and the last time we reported on Comscore numbers it was regarding Del.icio.us. Comscore showed a decline in the site’s traffic, owner Yahoo! insisted that the data was incorrect and Hitwise backed up Yahoo! statements with numbers last week.
What to make of it all? Well, throw in a giant grain of salt, but there are some tentative conclusions you could draw here. I think it’s an interesting quantification of the impact of MySpace’s video play, launched in January in competition with third party video services like YouTube. It also shows that those MySpace’s actions that have hurt the viral nature of third party services in the MySpace ecosystem have not stopped YouTube from seeing continued growth. You have to wonder about other companies launching today though, with MySpace being a less hospitable environment than it was when YouTube took off.
Ultimately though, just as the much beloved Flickr is far smaller still that the legacy site Yahoo! Photos (which is almost 10 times larger), so too is Yahoo! Videos the silent leader at the top of the heap while everyone is talking about the spread of innovation amongst its smaller competitors.
A related study by research firm InStat last week argued that they expect the market for online video to grow to ten times its current size over the next 5 years. Who will be the major players in that market? It may be tough for any particular feature set to overcome the momentum of the early movers. Will they be able to monetize their positions? The future of online video certainly looks like a fight. See also this morning’s post on the new partnership between three video startups, Eyespot, Blip.tv and Veoh.