YouTube’s April video usage up 55% over 2011

Digital media companies like YouTube (s GOOG) and Yahoo (s YHOO) have yet to see how much they will have increased their ad base by upping the quality of their video content recently.

But as monthly video data released by comScore shows, both companies have managed to significantly increase the amount of time viewers spend watching video on their respective channels.

Also read: TV nets wrap upfront week: “The biz still goes through us”

According to comScore, viewers spent an average of 434.8 minutes in April watching video on Google channels, a grouping the mainly includes the assets of YouTube. That represents an uptick of 55 percent over April 2011.

On Yahoo channels, meanwhile, viewers spent an average of 73.7 minutes in April watching video, nearly double the 37.5 minutes they averaged in April 2011.

While time spent viewing these leading digital channel operators has increased dramatically, total unique viewers watching them has not.

Tabulating 157.7 million unique video users in April, Google sites experienced only an 11 percent increase over April 2011’s tally of 142.7 million.

Yahoo, meanwhile, was virtually flat, counting 53.6 million uniques in April compared to 53.2 million during the same period last year.

These year-over-year benchmarks for the leading internet video providers follow trend lines of the broader online video industry.

For the entire online video universe, comScore tabulated 180.8 million unique viewers in April, up just 5 percent over April 2011. However, total minutes spent watching online video increased 46 percent to an average of 1,307.7 (I know, who are the people with all this time who are top-weighting these averages?).

Even with the uptick in consumption, YouTube and Yahoo’s rise in usage has come at a cost to others.

Vevo traffic continues to slide

Music video giant Vevo, for example, saw its unique viewers plummet 10 percent to 49.5 million over the same period, while its average viewership time declined by 41 percent to 57.9 minutes. (The comScore report doesn’t track mobile usage, so it’s hard to tell how many viewers are migrating to mobile platforms.)

Also, Viacom digital, the leader among traditional media companies in the digital video realm, saw its average viewer time drop 27 percent to 58.9 minutes (unique viewers were flat year over year at 41.2 million).