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The latest data from Nielsen has found that US online video usage has continued on its upward curve as in May 2011 as Americans streamed more than 15 billion videos, up 2.2% from an all-time high of 14.7 billion streams the month earlier.

In addition to the rising number of videos streamed, the number of online video viewers grew by 2.5% to 145 million unique viewers. However the number of streams per view dipped slightly by 0.3% to 103.6 and average time per viewer was 4:20 hours a fall of 3.8%.

In terms of where people watched video, sites showed the largest month-over-month growth in unique viewers, 29%, followed by Fox Interactive Media which was up 21%, Hulu which rose by 18% and AOL Media Network which climbed by +14%.

In absolute terms though, YouTube was not surprisingly the market leader with 111 million unique viewers, rising slightly by 0.5%. Trailing in its wake though was online music video destination VEVO with 36.4 million unique viewers, a rise of 4.0%. A clear way behind was Facebook and Yahoo! with 29 and 26 million unique viewers, both falling slightly month on month. Next came Microsoft with 17 million and then the Hulu ad-funded and subscription over the top (OTT) video service with 14.6 million.

When looking at total streams, YouTube was responsible for 8.9 billion streams then Hulu with 852 million and VEVO with 415 million.

Very interestingly though, and clearly showing the transient nature of YouTube watchers,  US viewers spent the most time watching Hulu content during May 2011, spending 4 hours, 43 minutes viewing videos across the Web. The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton caused a spike in viewing benefit in particular Ustream.tv and Justin.tv both of whom streamed replays of marriage.

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