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More people are watching more video ads than ever online

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Whether we like it or not, it seems, Internet video is becoming more like TV.

In May, the average Internet video viewer (85% of total Internet users) watched 21.9 hours of online video. That’s still well behind the 81 hours of TV the average American watched in 2010, but it’s still surprisingly high (it is the equivalent of half a work-week every month).

But what may be the biggest change in the Internet video experience is the fact that all that video watching included 10 billion video ads—an all time high for the Internet. That’s a total of 4,500 minutes of advertising.

All those ads are more than a fifth of the total videos viewed—but because commercials are shorter, it’s less then 2% of the total time spent.

Between sites like Hulu, YouTube, Vimeo, ESPN and others ads were watched online by 51.7 percent of the U.S. population.

Hulu served the most ads, followed by YouTube and other Google-owned sites. That’s hardly surprising, considering that watching a show on Hulu, you’ll see a variety of commercials between segments. It’s almost as if you’re watching the show in real TV time—except the ads are harder to tune out.

That just shows, however, how many commercials Hulu shows. In terms of non-ad videos actually watched last month, six times as many people watched videos on YouTube and other Google sites as watched video on Hulu. Considering the actual number of videos shown, the discrepancy gets even bigger. Since YouTube’s videos are short, not full-length shows, YouTube streamed 20 times as many videos as Hulu.

With hours upon hours of videos uploaded to the Internet daily, this will only make it harder for sites like YouTube to control copyrighted material.

YouTube receives over 350,000 Digital Millennium Copyright Act  takedown requests per week and would cost $37 billion a year just to keep up with the amount of copyrighted content online everyday. YouTube is even threatening to sue websites that allow you to convert YouTube videos into mp3 files.

Photo by Rego - d4u.hu