5 Billion Reasons to Warm Up to Google

I know what you did this summer. You watched YouTube. A lot of YouTube.

Fresh comScore data for July shows that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) topped the 5 billion mark for video clips viewed during the month, with 98% of the online giant's clip-culture traffic coming from YouTube.

The competition isn't even close.

Company

U.S. July Views

(in Millions)

July Share

Google

5,044.1

44.1%

Fox Interactive

445.7

3.9%

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  )

282.7

2.5%

Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  )

269.5

2.4%

Viacom (NYSE: VIA  )

246.4

2.2%

Disney (NYSE: DIS  )

186.7

1.6%

Turner Network

171.1

1.5%

Hulu

119.4

1.0%

AOL

95.1

0.8%

CBS (NYSE: CBS  )

69.3

0.6%

Source: comScore.

YouTube's primacy isn't a surprise. Seeing Fox place second may be, until you realize that Fox includes under its umbrella all of News Corp.'s (NYSE: NWS  ) online video-streaming properties, especially MySpace.

Perhaps more importantly, as the poster child of Google acquisitions, YouTube has the freedom to grow without the monetization baggage that's otherwise nearly inevitable at some point down the road.

Think about it this way: Would Microsoft or Yahoo! have shown Google's level of hands-off restraint if they were the ones to have forked over $1.65 billion for the site? Media heavies such as Viacom, Disney, and CBS would have probably given in to pre-roll ads by now -- the ones that sponsors love and viewers hate.

All told, comScore is projecting that online users viewed 11.4 billion videos in July. In a troubling sign for major networks as they head into the new fall primetime season, 142 million stateside users watched an average of 80 million clips during the month.

Does that mean couch potatoes have become computer-chair spuds? Now that Wi-Fi home-theater appliances are bringing video-sharing sites into the living room, will ratings dip for conventional shows?

We'll find out over the next several weeks. How's that for a video cliffhanger?

More YouTube clips:

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is ready to classify himself as a clip-culture junkie. He owns no shares in any of the companies in this story, save for Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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