YouTube thrashes Google, MSN, Yahoo in Web video market

YouTube is by far the most popular video Web site, according to research firm Hitwise.

YouTube is the most visited video Web site, attracting almost half of all visitors and towering over giants like Google, Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft's MSN, according to Hitwise.

For the week ending May 20, YouTube, founded in January 2005, nabbed almost 43 percent of all visits to video Web sites, while the video section of News's MySpace.com (http://vids.myspace.com) came in second with 24.2 percent, the market researcher said.

The video search engines of Yahoo (9.6 percent), MSN (9.2 percent), Google (6.5 percent) and AOL (4.3 percent) followed. Rounding out the top 10 were iFilm, Grouper Networks, Dailymotion.com and Custom One Media's vSocial.com.

Collectively, traffic to the top 10 video Web sites increased 164 percent in the past three months, New York-based Hitwise said Wednesday.

For many years, online video remained an unfulfilled promise, hampered by high broadband prices, inferior image quality and reluctance by TV networks and film companies to put their shows and movies on the Web.

However, in the past year, video on the Web has gained momentum, helped by a critical mass of users with broadband access, improved quality and an embrace by production companies to distribute their films and programs online.

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