Online Video Viewing Rose 45% in January

Netflix's streaming video service ranks behind rivals YouTube and Hulu in terms of number of streams, but users spend more time on it.

NEW YORK - Online video viewing data for January showed a 45 percent increase in time spent on video and underscored that Netflix's streaming video service continues to build momentum.

Netflix has become the only paid video service to be a top 10 video site on the Internet when looking at total number of streams and unique visitors, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing Nielsen data.

Netflix was also No. 1 by a wide margin for time spent per viewer as its streaming site saw 23 percent growth over December to more than 11 hours, it said.

It still trails giants like Google's YouTube and Hulu, which provide mostly free content, in the key category of the number of video streams, but is growing much faster than them, according to the Journal. YouTube's total nuber of video streams amounted to nearly 8.5 billion, down 2.6 percent from December, while Hulu streams increased 3.3 percent to more than 813 million. Netflix took the fifth spot with 200 million.

Overall, Nielsen said time spent watching online video rose 45 percent from a year ago. The number of viewers grew only 3.1 percent, but users streamed 28 percent more video and spent more time with it, it said.

The online video usage report was Nielsen's first since disclosing in November that it had undercounted figures in 2010 amid a technical glitch.