Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Web Video Winners: YouTube, Hulu…and MegaVideo?

What video sites garnered the most eyeballs in January? ComScore, which tracks this stuff, hasn’t officially released its numbers for the month. But its customers have access to them, which is why Hulu sent out this chart (click chart to enlarge) over the weekend touting the success of the joint venture between News Corp.’s (NWS) Fox and GE’s (GE) NBC. (News Corp. is the owner of Dow Jones, which owns this Web site.)

hulu-video-s

Basically, this chart looks like every other comScore (SCOR) video chart during the past few months. That is, Hulu is generating much more traffic than any individual TV network is getting online, and Google’s (GOOG) YouTube is crushing everyone on the Web. Same as it ever was.

Except… what is MegaVideo.com, and how did it crack comScore’s Top 10 in January?

Good question. MegaVideo is a Hong Kong-based site that launched in 2007 and proclaimed itself to be yet another YouTube killer. Obviously, it doesn’t come close, trafficwise. And if you take a look at the site’s front page, you’ll see a desultory collection of clips that doesn’t come close to the length and breadth of the stuff YouTube promotes.

But MegaVideo is “built by the same people who brought you Megaupload.com,” a video-uploading and storage company, so the natural suspicion is that its stats are somehow connected to the traffic the storage site generates.

[UPDATE: A MediaMemo reader notes that MegaVideo is a good resource for people who want to watch illegal copies of SciFi's "Battlestar Galactica"--check out this WordPress-hosted blog, which offers up embedded video of the show. And another reader tells me that MegaVideo is a reliable source for pirated video of all stripes -- as long as you don't watch more than 72 minutes at a stretch. After that, the site makes you wait for nearly an hour before starting up again.]

MegaVideo’s appearance at the top of the chart has also set off some head-scratching at comScore itself, says analyst Andrew Lipsman, who says his company is double-checking to make sure there’s nothing untoward with those numbers. But at first glimpse, the site appears to have been making a strong and steady rise. (Click chart to enlarge)

megavideo-data

If the data hold up, this will be a real bummer for Disney’s (DIS) ESPN, which held the 10th spot in comScore’s December chart. That’s because media buyers really do pay attention to these charts, and being able to claim that your site or network is in the Top Ten is a meaningful advantage when you’re trying to wrangle ad dollars.

So what are MegaVideo users watching, anyway? You got me. The site’s “most viewed” videos are almost entirely composed of Asian animation that flies right over my head.

I do understand one of them, though–a grainy 16-second clip that MegaVideo says is its second-most popular video. I can’t figure out how to embed it, but you can see it here. Spoiler alert! The clip ends badly for the dude in the middle–if you don’t like the looks of this screenshot, don’t click through.

megavideo-clip


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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”