As Hulu Gets More Mainstream, Long Viewing Sessions Wane

Hulu continues to claw its way up the U.S. video charts, and in March surpassed Yahoo to claim the No. 3 spot by number of video streams (Yahoo still claims No. 3 by number of visitors). Hulu had 380 million streams (a gain of 19.7 percent) and 41.6 million unique viewers (a gain of 14.3 percent) in March, according to comScore Video Metrix. And the site has once again beat comScore to release the measurement firm’s monthly video report to the press.

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Hulu did lose in one category — minutes per viewer — which is a consistent aspect of its Alex Baldwin and Seth MacFarlane spokesmen-fueled growth this year. The mainstream audience just doesn’t seem to park on the site the way early adopters did. The site had 57.9 minutes per viewer in March, down from 64.5 minutes in February, and down from 79 minutes in January. But to be fair, that’s still way more than anyone but YouTube; see the chart above.

Hulu, which is expected to add Disney content and investment any day now, is in the midst of some very important negotiations about exclusivity and windows that should have a big impact on the video landscape, especially as cable companies and the like get jealous and try to claim some of the fast-growing site’s turf.

Nielsen had reported Hulu served more videos to fewer uniques in March, but comScore didn’t measure that trend — or even numbers in the same ballpark (oh wouldn’t it be nice if stats firms could agree on something?).

Well, OK, there’s one thing everybody agrees on. YouTube has the most traffic. Google is holding strong at 40.9 percent of total U.S. video streams. The site commands a formidable 148.6 minutes per viewer.

Overall U.S. streams were up 10 percent February to March to 14.5 billion, but that’s still a smidge below the Inauguration-fueled January figure of 14.8 billion.

I’ll just add one more comment, and this is directly for the folks at Hulu. If you’re going to be so stat-happy, could you maybe think about opening up your own per-episode analytics? Cause we’d really like to see those, and we think other people would too. Thanks.

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