The number of videos viewed by Americans increased by 34 percent over the past year with 12.7 billion videos viewed in November 2008 versus 9.5 billion the previous November, according to the latest report from comScore Video Metrix. That means Americans spent a whopping 40 percent more time watching online videos over the course of the year, notes NewTeeVee.

Seventy seven percent of the U.S. internet audience watches online video — that’s a lot of couch potatoes surfing the internet with laptops balanced precariously on their knees (raise your hand if you’ve ever been burned by an overheating laptop).

ComScore reports that 146 million viewers tuned in to watch online videos in November 2008, which isn’t a huge spike from the 138 million in November 2007. However, in 2008, the average viewer watched 273 minutes of online video during the same month. That’s an increase of more than an hour in the past year (195 minutes in November 2007), or two and a half episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

While the average video was watched for 3.1 minutes, the average video on Hulu was watched for an impressive 11.9 minutes, longer than any other internet property in the top ten list. Hulu’s offering of premium TV shows and films is definitely a factor in keeping U.S. viewers watching longer, even with ads sprinkled sporadically throughout.

The top ten list of online video sites has subtly shifted over the course of the year. YouTube remains king of the castle, accounting for more than 98 percent of all videos watched on Google sites (Google’s market share is strong at 40.3 percent, up from 31.4 percent a year ago). YouTube attracted 97 million viewers, who watched 5.1 billion videos on the site. Please tell me you didn’t watch this one, in which the Jonas Brothers cover John Mayer’s “Gravity,” perhaps one of the worst things brought to you by the year 2008:


Despite all the hullabaloo about Hulu traffic dropping steeply after the election, the site kept its no. 6 spot from October to November 2008. It turned out those numbers had not included traffic from video embeds, and the nation wasn’t actually suffering from Palin withdrawal.

While ESPN probably isn’t too scared that VentureBeatnik MG Siegler is never going to visit again due to a new site redesign, it should take note that’s slight drop has knocked it to the bottom of this top ten list. Meanwhile, and didn’t even make the list this November (here are the November 2007 numbers), though ABC’s much-praised video player was one of the first to stream TV episodes and do it well.