I was looking at some extended comScore stats for another article and saw something pretty striking: Facebook is very nearly a top 10 U.S. video site, according to comScore. It’s in slot No. 11, just behind Disney.
Facebook had 12.5 million unique video viewers in March 2009. What’s particularly notable about this high ranking is that Facebook almost exclusively hosts personal video. It’s the ultimate destination for cute babies and talented kitties. Videos are protected by the site’s privacy functions, and are only embeddable by their original uploader. The company recently told us that 40 percent of its uploads come from webcams — this is a very different kind of video activity than we see on other sites.
But honestly, Facebook is just big; anything it does is going to be big. Its photo-sharing feature has more traffic than any of the world’s photo-specific sites. Still, the site hasn’t invested in video the way competitors like MySpace have, where premium content and original web productions are prominently featured. And MySpace, measured as part of Fox Interactive Media, had 55.2 million video viewers in March, more than four times as many as Facebook.
The contrast between the two approaches is borne out in the two sites’ video views, which comScore also measures. Facebook had just 37.6 million video views in March, placing it way out of the top 10, and below many media distributors with fewer visitors, like ESPN, Comcast and Break.com. MySpace had 437 million video views. Facebook users watched just three videos each in March, while MySpace users watched eight.
But while Facebook may not be a premium video company, user video is its forte. When we visited Facebook earlier this year, video developer Chris Putnam told us the site was receiving 415,000 user-submitted video uploads per day. By contrast, MySpace said it was receiving just 70,000.