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comScore reported yesterday that Americans watched 34% more online videos this past November than they did a year ago in November 2007. This amounts to a whopping 12.7bn videos watched in a single month.

Google properties, which include YouTube, remained the top online video destinations, drawing nearly 98m unique viewers and accounting for just over 40% of videos watched.

Following Google in the rankings are properties owned by two mainstream media companies: Fox Interactive Media and Viacom Digital. Hulu, the joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp., was the sixth most popular online video destination in the United States.

According to comScore, 77% of the total internet population in the United States viewed online video in November 2008 and the average viewer watched 273 minutes of video.

The numbers are quite impressive but the popularity of online video today is hardly surprising to most given the rapid rise of services like YouTube and Hulu.

What may be surprising to some is that there are bearish sentiments about the nascent market for online video advertising.

JP Morgan analyst Imran Khan believes that the market for video ads will slow because the market is based on the CPM model. In his report, Nothing But Net: Outlook for Global Internet Stocks in 2009, he predicts that performance-based search ads will experience more robust growth in 2009 than display advertising amidst the global economic downturn.

As PaidContent.org's David Kaplan notes, unlike television, "online video can’t guarantee viewership for any specific video the way TV does in the upfront model."

Khan cites the unpredictable nature of video popularity, the wide range of quality and copyright issues as other reasons the video ad market will have a less-than-stellar next several years.

For online video providers, he is instead interested in other avenues of monetization, such as ecommerce, which has been discussed previously on Econsultancy.

Patricio Robles

Published 6 January, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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