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YouTube's popularity increased in May, accounting for more than 75% of U.S. traffic to video sites, a Web metrics firm said Thursday.
Among the 10 million visitors to the 63 sites tracked by Hitwise, Google-owned YouTube had more than nine times the traffic of the No. 2 MySpaceTV, which had a 9% share. The remaining top five were Google Video, 3.73%; Yahoo Video, 1.92%; and Veoh, 1.13%.
Even more telling were the year-to-year increases in traffic. YouTube's share rose 26% since May 2007, while the remaining top five, with the exception of Veoh, had double-digit declines. MySpaceTV suffered a 44% drop; Google Video, 52%; and Yahoo Video, 31%. Veoh increased traffic by 32%, and Google Video's decline could be attributed to the company's focus on YouTube.
"YouTube is synonymous with online video," a Hitwise spokesman said. "It just keeps growing."
As a reflection of brand loyalty, 82% of those who visited YouTube in May were returning visitors, with the remaining brand new. More than half of the visitors to three of the remaining top five were returning, but none came close to the level of YouTube. MySpaceTV's percentage was 64%; Google Video, 54%; Yahoo Video, 51%; and Veoh, 48%.
Despite the high traffic numbers, Google has acknowledged that making money with YouTube has been difficult. Eric Schmidt, chief executive of the search engine, told a TV interviewer in April that the company had yet to figure out "the perfect solution of how to make money, and we're working on that. That's our highest priority of this year."
During the interview with CNBC, Schmidt said the company wants to make YouTube a better advertising tool. While not giving details, Schmidt said Google would introduce new ad campaigns that go beyond its current ad lines that run at the bottom of videos.