YouTube may be the reigning king of online video, but Microsoft, very quietly, has jumped to the number 2 spot in online video watching, leaping from number 7 to number 2 in a single month. It's now ahead of many rivals, including Hulu, Yahoo, Turner, AOL, and others.
In Comscore's latest set of online video rankings, for February, YouTube retains its immense lead over everyone else with 141.1 million unique viewers. And it's not just that it has far more viewers than everyone else --- people also spend more time on average on YouTube then they spend on the competition, an astonishing 261.6 minutes per month, nearly 4.5 hours.
Microsoft, though, leapfrogged YouTube's competition, jumping to number two, with 48.8 million views. Following it were Yahoo! sites with 46.7 million viewers, Facebook with nearly 46.7 million viewers, and VEVO with 45.9 million viewers. Just a month ago, Microsoft was number 7, with 38.1 million viewers. You can see this month's results, below.
How did Microsoft do it? It's not quite clear, because Microsoft didn't release a new video service in the past month. But SFGate notes that an increasing number of people seem to be using Bing video to search for and play video clips.
If that's the case, Microsoft is on the right track with Bing. It's inconceivable that Bing will ever catch up to Google in popularity. But if Microsoft builds out speciality searches and features, it can carve out a number of successful niches for Bing. It may be the video is one of the first.
That's not to say that all is good news when it comes to video for Microsoft. People spent on average 46.5 minutes viewing video on its sites in February, well below the 261.6 average minutes on YouTube and the 224.3 average minutes on Hulu. Microsoft needs to figure out a way to get people to watch more.
Still, the month was an impressive one for Microsoft video. If the company can build other specialty Bing sites, it may have a winner.
This story, "Bing's Secret Weapon: Online Video" was originally published by Computerworld.