Hulu's sharp decline in viewership underscores inconsistency in measuring size of online audience

©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.

LA Times, 7/26/10

Contradictory data from competing measurement firms make it hard for advertisers to determine which websites should get their business.

Hulu has been hailed as the future of television, but its reputation has been based in part on measurement techniques rooted in the past.

The highflying online TV site frequently is touted as among the most popular video sites in the U.S., based on data from the industry-leading ComScore measurement service. A recent overhaul of ComScore’s methods, however, brought Hulu’s numbers crashing to Earth.

Hulu’s estimated viewership shriveled to 24 million in June, from 43.5 million in May, under ComScore’s new methodology. It was the most dramatic decline of any of the top Internet video sites. Now Hulu, long proud of its ranking as the Internet’s No. 2 most popular site, is barely hanging on in the top 10, according to ComScore.

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