comScore Data Shows Facebook Emerging As A Video Power

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Facebook now holds a secure place behind YouTube as a video content property as online streaming continues to grow, according to the latest comScore rankings. Read the release.

A year ago, comScore's July 2011 video rankings had Facebook in the number three spot, behind video music site Vevo. Google Sites, as comScore identifies YouTube along with Google's lesser video properties, ranked as the top online video content property in July with 157 million unique viewers, followed distantly, if not comfortably, by Facebook.com with 53 million. Yahoo, which has lost its long-held position as the display leader last year to Google and Facebook, was in third with 48.7 million.

While Yahoo's numbers are nothing to sneeze at, the perception of being behind YouTube and Facebook could hurt it with advertisers and other video content producers as it seeks to drive more video ad revenue. After all, video remains one of the fastest growing parts of display.

In the U.S., eMarketer projects advertisers will increase video ad spending by 54.7 percent and up investments in standard banners by nearly 20 percent. Despite the fact that video is a key driver in display, eMarketer predicts much lower growth for rich media ads, at just over 4 percent, as brands turn to true online video instead.

Of course, saying how much online video is growing in both uniques and in revenues is still largely a story about YouTube's growth. But the increasing pie also presents openings for established players like Yahoo. Tthe industry is waiting with baited breath as to whether new CEO Marissa Mayer will pursue deals like Yahoo's ABC TV/Good Morning America collaboration or if it will look to create in-house content like AOL's CNN-like online video newscast Huffpost Live, which debuted this past week.

But the biggest question hangs over Facebook -- what will it do to derive ad revenues from its video views? As its stock hits new lows this week, the pressure to generate revenues is extreme to say the least.

Back in May, we asked whether Facebook could create a video ad network of its own -- and if doing something so overtly marketing-oriented would alienate users. It seemed dubious at the time, but that was before the Facebook Exchange was launched in June. In any case, the amount of time spent on videos on Facebook's site is enough to get marketers to spend more ad dollars on Facebook. So in that sense, anything that keeps the uniques up on the social network is plus. But even before the pressures from public shareholders began building, Facebook has never just settled. It will likely think of a more direct way to capitalize on its video views over the next few months.

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