Is Bing Driving Video Views for Microsoft?

Is Bing helping Microsoft move the needle on online video? That appears to be the case, according to new monthly stats from Nielsen. Microsoft’s combined MSN, Windows Live and Bing entrant brought it into fourth place in the U.S. in June, behind YouTube, Yahoo and Hulu. Last month Microsoft had 195.6 million streams and 16.1 million users, compared to May, when it had 148.4 million streams and 12.5 million users and ranked seventh.

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Could it be Bing, the revamped search engine that Microsoft launched in early June, that’s making the difference? Bing has a devoted curated video page and displays moving thumbnails in the video search results (though we don’t know if Nielsen counts those as views).

Microsoft might have an opportunity to pounce in online video, given that its competitor Yahoo has undertaken some serious reshuffling in that division. What’s clear is that a little innovation and some good content will take you a long way on the online video charts, as we’ve seen with Hulu’s dramatic rise.

(We should note, however, that we’ve been frustrated with irregularities in Nielsen’s stats when they are compared month-to-month.)

In terms of overall numbers, Nielsen found that time per viewer was up 37 percent year-over-year. Viewers each watched 188.8 minutes of video, on average, in June. During that time, there were 134.3 million unique viewers and 10.1 billion streams, both up significantly from the previous year and slightly from the previous month.

YouTube, of course, had by far the largest share of those viewers and views, with 99 million unique viewers in June and 6.1 billion total streams.

Hulu’s total streams were reportedly down slightly for the month, to 348.3 million from 382.3 million, but its unique viewers rose to 10.7 million from 10.1 million. That’s still pretty good considering there’s barely any new TV content coming out during the summer months.

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