Each month we hear about how much share of the online video market YouTube (GOOG) has hoovered up. But each month we also get two different pictures of YouTube’s dominance: One from Nielsen and one from comScore (SCOR).
When comScore releases its Video Metrix figures for June next week, it will put YouTube at 39% of the video market. It says YouTube accounted for 4.2 billion out of 10.8 billion videos watched in the U.S. that month.
Nielsen’s VideoCensus for June, though, give YouTube some 53% of the market, with 4 billion of 7.5 billion total views. In July, Nielsen had YouTube with nearly 60% of the market, with 5 billion of 8.5 billion total U.S. views.
What gives? Obviously, the biggest difference here is that comScore believes the video market is a lot bigger than Nielsen does. The two have very different approaches to measuring the market: comScore bases its numbers on a volunteer panel of about 200,000 people recruited online, while Nielsen uses a combination of a panel of 180,000 combined with a server data taken from participating video sites.
Also, Nielsen doesn’t measure public Internet use in cafes or libraries. But the biggest reason for the near 40% difference in the size of the market probably comes over a matter of philosophy: comScore includes video advertising in their numbers, while Nielsen screens the ads out.
UPDATE: Nielsen confirms what an astute commenter pointed out: Nielsen does excludes porn (as well as advertising) from its VideoCensus reports, which further explains the discrepancy.
The real question: Beyond bragging rights, does any of this really matter? Multiple metrics are a long-standing tradition on the Web, and since Web video is relatively new, it’s going to take some time to settle on a single standard. But there’s zero doubt about one thing: YouTube is far and away the dominant player in Web video.