AOL Jumps To No. 2 Spot In comScore Online Video Rankings

Online video views continue to rise. ComScore has released data from its Video Metrix service, showing that 174 million Internet users in the United States watched online video content in March for an average of 14.8 hours per viewer. That’s up from 170 million users in February. In total, the U.S. Internet audience engaged in more than 5.7 billion viewing sessions during March (compared to 5 billion in February).

Google Sites (a.k.a. YouTube) was the top online video content property in March with 143.2 million unique viewers. AOL jumped from the seventh spot in February to the second spot in March with 57 million viewers. Yahoo Sites followed with 56.4 million viewers. Microsoft Sites came in fourth with 53.1 million viewers, while VEVO ranked fifth with 52.6 million viewers. Facebook came in sixth with 48.8 million viewers. Google Sites had the highest number of viewing sessions as it neared the 2 billion mark, and highest time spent per viewer at 276 minutes, or 4.6 hours.

So why did AOL jump five spots in the past month? There are a few possible reasons for this, but the main one is because comScore is counting video viewership differently than before. ComScore says that as the data analysis company switches over to UD, (unified digital measurement); AOL’s online video views have been boosted.

And of course, AOL has also recently become more bullish on video content and is ramping up video production on its properties. AOL bought video syndication network 5min last Fall for this reason. And in January 2010, AOL acquired StudioNow for $36.5 million to integrate a solid video creation platform into its content business. And AOL acquired the Huffington Post in February and closed the deal in early March. Videos from the Huffington Post are also contributing (and we are doing our small part with TCTV).

In terms of video ad views, Americans viewed 4.3 billion video ads in March, with Hulu generating the highest number of video ad impressions at more than 1.2 billion. Tremor Media Video Network followed (and highest among video ad networks) with 804.3 million ad views, followed by (553 million) and BrightRoll Video Network (398 million).

Time spent watching videos ads neared 1.9 billion minutes during the month, with Hulu delivering the highest duration of video ads at 520 million minutes. Video ads reached 43 percent of the total U.S. population an average of 33 times during the month. Hulu also delivered the highest frequency of video ads to its viewers with an average of 47 over the course of the month.

Disclosure: We are owned by AOL.