Hulu Poised to Crack a Billion Video Views

Hulu wrapped up a banner year, registering a record number of unique users and a record number of video streams, according to data from comScore’s (s SCOR) Video Metrix. With more than 924 million videos viewed in November, the online video site could easily end December with more than a billion views.

Maybe a year ago it would have seemed unlikely for the fledgling video site to reach a billion views, but now it seems totally within reach. Growth slowed in November, with the number of videos viewed increasing just 8 percent from the previous month, compared to a record 47 percent increase from September to October. Even so, Hulu video views need only grow another 8 percent month-to-month for the site to top 1 billion views by the end of the year. And if it doesn’t hit a billion views by year-end, you bet it will crack a billion in January, with franchise hits like 24 returning next month.

Month-to-month growth might have slowed, but the site showed incredible year-over-year growth, with the number of monthly users increasing 95 percent from November 2008, and the number of streams increasing a whopping 307 percent over the same time period, according to a blog post by Hulu CEO Jason Kilar.

The growth in videos viewed comes in part due to the number of videos available. Kilar writes that the site has grown to more than 200 content partners, up from 130 a year ago. And that’s led to an impressive growth in the number of videos viewers can choose from on the site, with more than 14,000 hours of video available, compared to about 5,600 at this point in 2008.

So what were users watching on the site? A lot of Saturday Night Live, for one thing. SNL led the site in total views, and also had the top video clip viewed on the site in 2009, the Andy Samberg–Justin Timberlake collaboration Motherlover. Comedy led the way, with Family Guy, The Office, The Simpsons, American Dad, and The Daily Show all in the top 10. Also sneaking into the top 10 were Japanese anime sensation Naruto Shippuden, musical comedy hit Glee, and Fox medical drama House.