When it comes to sheer revenue, YouTube is blowing the doors off of Hulu. Analysts peg YouTube’s 2011 haul at anywhere between $1.2 billion and $1.6 billion, while Hulu has said it expects to pull in $500 million this year — a number that includes revenue from its subscription service Hulu Plus.
YouTube ought to be dominating the revenue battle at this juncture. Not only is the site five times bigger than Hulu in terms of monthly audience, but it has also been at it longer. Plus, for many consumers YouTube is Web video. It has become a must-buy for some advertisers.
That revenue gap has led some to wonder, why is YouTube bothering with investing $100 million in Hollywood talent, with 100 channels in the works next year showcasing professional talent? Upon closer analysis of the numbers, it is clear that while YouTube’s mass reach ensures that it will consistently pull in healthy revenue, it’s not monetizing nearly as effectively as Hulu.
*ComScore was able to provide data on unique users, videos delivered and average minutes per user from July 2010 through October 2011. Digiday projected views and minutes data for November and December based on seasonality trends (typically overall Web video viewership dips in November and December). The YouTube revenue figures are based on a recent forecast published by Barclays Capital, which predicts the Google-owned site will generate $1.6 billion in 2011