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When Google paid $1.65bn for YouTube many questioned what the site's business model was and if it could continue to grow its audience.

Well so far the answer is yes. Site visits to YouTube.com grew by 70 per cent between January and May 2007. To put this in context, site visits to 64 other video-sharing websites grew by just eight per cent in the same period. In fact, YouTube had 50 per cent more site visits than all 64 other sites combined.

YouTube has 60.02 per cent of market share of US visits to video sites. Next is MySpace with 16.08 per cent, Google Video has still got 7.81 per cent, then there is a sharp drop off. Yahoo! Video gets 2.77 per cent of site visits, MSN gets 2.09 per cent, Break.com gets 1.33 per cent followed by Daily Motion with 1.13 per cent. Bringing up the rear are MetaCafe (1.07 per cent), AOL Media (0.94 per cent) and Veoh in tenth place with 0.86 per cent.

But search engines still account for 20 per cent of traffic to video-sharing websites - suggesting either an increasing appetite for video content or that people struggle to find what they want on the sites themselves.

Figures from Hitwise show that the number of surfers leaving search engines to go to video sites has also increased by some 300 per cent over a year from May 2006 to May 2007.

There's more on the Hitwise blog here.®

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