For the first time, Nielsen Online has released rankings for online streaming of episodes and clips.
“Lost” tops the chart for the month of December with 1.4 million unique viewers, followed by NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” with 1.1 million.
By the yardstick of the total time viewers spent with a show online, the surprise leader in December was CW’s “Privileged.” The rating-challenged dramedy drew only 29,000 unique viewers, but those that did tune in stuck around for an average of 214.6 minutes.
There’s a big caveat to these rankings, however, in that they don’t include shows streamed via Hulu because Hulu won’t breakout its numbers to Nielsen (at least if I'm reading Nielsen-ese right. A Nielsen Online rep would only say that Hulu is "not available in our syndication service.")
Nielsen’s survey includes the websites of Hulu partners NBC and Fox, as well as ABC, CBS and CW. But by all accounts, Hulu's vid streaming traffic has outpaced that of the Peacock and Fox nets' individual websites. The survey captures clips that are embedded on other websites and blogs, as long as the streams come from the network's proprietary player (but not Hulu's player).
“Lost” made a strong showing, considering its fifth season didn’t bow until January (fans and the curious were obviously catching up with it in preparation), but “SNL’s” numbers would surely be higher if its Hulu spins were included.
So far this season, "Lost" has been hovering around 10-million-11 million viewers for its premiere airings on the old-fashioned tube, with another 2 million or so watching via DVR in first seven days after the preem.
Rounding out the top 10 in unique viewers:
“Grey’s Anatomy” (879,000)
"Desperate Housewives” (723,000)
"Ugly Betty" (631,000)
"Samantha Who" (560,000)
In the time-spent measure, NBC’s “Chuck” runs second to “Privileged" (pictured left) with an average of 162.5 minutes viewed by 226,000 uniques, followed by:
“Lipstick Jungle” (153.2 minutes/152,000 uniques)
“The Simpsons” (138.8 minutes/41,000 uniques)
"Life" (137.4 minutes/133,000 uniques)
"Kitchen Nightmares" (124.9 minutes/40,000 uniques)
"Private Practice" (123.1 minutes/350,000 uniques)
"The Young and the Restless" (115.6 minutes/323,000 uniques)
"The Office" (111.8 minutes/374,000 uniques)
In the big-big picture, Nielsen reports there were 124.6 million unique viewers of online video (from all sources, not just the nets) in the U.S. in December. Those viewers cued up some 9.6 billion video streams, a staggering number that underscores that traditional TV shows only account for a fraction of total online viewing.
The typical online couch potato spent an average 170.7 minutes watching vid online in December. That compares to Nielsen's stats for 2008 showing that the average home had a TV set in use for eight hours and 18 minutes every day, and that the average adult watched 142 hours of TV per month.