comScore: The Michael Jackson Effect Shakes Up June's Online Video Rankings

Analytics firm comScore has just released its latest statistics for video streaming sites in the United States for the month of June, and at first glance the results are quite surprising: the top video sites have seen a major shakeup, with many of the top sites abruptly falling in the rankings.

The cause, of course, is the Michael Jackson effect — media organizations around the world dedicated huge amounts of coverage to the pop star’s tragic death on June 25, and many people turned to the web to learn more. Other breaking news that month, including the Iranian election controversy, also likely contributed to the growth seen by news properties.

Hulu, which has ranked as the third most popular video site in the United States for the past few months, has dropped down to seventh. Likewise, Fox Interactive Media, which includes MySpace, has dropped from second to fifth.

So who took their place? Video search engine Blinkx jumped from sixth place in May with 300,641 views to fourth overall with over 623,000 (Note:all figures in 000’s). Microsoft also saw a big jump, rising from fifth place in May with 310,560 overall streams, to third place in June, with 695,661 streams (much of this gain was likely due to increased traffic to MSN and MSNBC). Turner, the parent company of CNN, also saw its video views nearly double.

Finally there’s Viacom, the media conglomerate that includes Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, and BET. Viacom vaulted from seventh place in May with 281,368 views to second place in June, with a whopping 773,554. Again, much of this can likely be attributed to the Michael Jackson news that was featured prominently on MTV, but Nickelodeon also saw strong traffic, which may be related to the summer season when kids generally watch more TV.