Older Folks Helping Fuel Hulu’s growth

If Hulu is making thank-you cards to send out to the people who have helped make it a hit, the company needs to make sure to write one up for folks over the age of 35. According to new stats from Nielsen, people between the ages of 35 and 49 were the fastest-growing demographic in time spent viewing the site in the past six months, and in April these fogeys represented 30 percent of Hulu’s total viewers, spending more time on the site (an average of 416 minutes per viewer) than any other demographic.

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Hulu held onto its No. 2 ranking in April in the U.S., though that spot remains a distant second to goliath YouTube, which served up nearly 5.5 billion streams in April. Also impressive is that YouTube grew 35.5 percent year over year. Hulu grew 490 percent in the same time, but the site was just a couple months out of launch this time last year, so big growth is to be expected. YouTube hasn’t just held onto its No. 1 status, it’s increased its share of the total number of streams served, with 58.1 percent of streams in April 2009, up from 53.3 percent last year.

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Overall, the the number of unique viewers actually declined year over year in April, dipping 2.5 percent to roughly 116 million uniques in 2009 vs. 119 million in 2008. But, that smaller audience watched more videos as total streams grew 24.2 percent to 9.4 billion in 2009 from 7.6 billion in 2008, and both total streams per viewer and time spent per viewer had double-digit growth.

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