Hulu November Viewers Down, but Total Viewing up

Nielsen: Takes a 76% Post-Election Hit

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NEW YORK ( -- Hulu isn't exempt from the laws of gravity, or from the effects of hit TV. Bereft of hit "Saturday Night Live" clips including those of Tina Fey impersonating Gov. Sarah Palin, the NBC Universal-News Corp. venture served fewer unique viewers in November than in October, according to Nielsen VideoCensus.

Tina Fey impersonating Gov. Sarah Palin.
Tina Fey impersonating Gov. Sarah Palin. Credit: NBC takes a hit
Unique viewers dropped to 7.5 million from just more than 9 million, which coincides somewhat with ComScore figures released earlier this month that showed a decline in unique visitors to the site from October to November -- the first decline of any time for the fast-growing site since it launched to the public in March., which also hosted the "SNL" clips, took an even bigger hit: Unique viewers dropped 31% to 5.3 million from 7.6 million. Total views cratered nearly 76% to 33.5 million in November from 137 million in October.

Unique viewers aside, there's still good news for Hulu: Even without Sarah Palin, total viewing on the site is way up. The site served just more than 220 million video streams in November, up 7% from 206 million in October. Those numbers make Hulu the No. 3 video site in the U.S. And it's closing in fast on No. 2 Fox Interactive Media, with 243 million streams.

Hit clips count
But the hiccup in unique viewers shows that Hulu's growth won't be linear, and that like TV it attracts audiences with hits, not necessarily with Long Tail TV content such as, say, Speed Racer.

The lack of hit TV in clips didn't have much of an impact on the market leader, Google's YouTube, which finished November having served 5.56 billion clips, up about 9% from the 5.1 billion in October, according to Nielsen. That erases a slide from September, when YouTube served 5.35 billion videos in the U.S.

U.S. viewers watched 9.5 billion videos in November, up 9% from October's 8.9 billion according to Nielsen. Nielsen puts YouTube's share of U.S video marketplace at about 58%, significantly higher than ComScore's Video Metrix, which puts YouTube at about 40% of the market.

The discrepancy is partly due to the fact Nielsen doesn't count adult content or advertising in its total video count, while ComScore counts all video.

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