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With all eyes always on videos on YouTube and Hulu, it’s no wonder no one saw this sneaking up: Facebook is suddenly number three in the video streaming stakes, it was recently reported on Nielsen.com. People keep calling YouTube the most popular; exactly how popular is it? Actually, they just served up about a video for every person on earth last year – more than 6 billion. Hulu comes in second with about a tenth that number, and surprise, Facebook is catching up with about a quarter million videos streamed last month. Facebook even beats Hulu if you would look at it another way: Facebook has more viewers than Hulu. If you would look at it by the number of viewers each service has, Facebook has 10 million, and YouTube has 100 million.

Social networking with video is really growing; people watched videos twice as much this year as they did last year. People only spent about half a billion minutes watching videos on YouTube and similar websites last year as opposed to a full billion minutes this year. The problem now isn’t to do with getting people to use the service; it has to do with attracting enough interesting content to keep up the growth. People need to keep making great interesting videos to upload, to drive this kind of growth.

People seem to spend most of their web time these days on social networking sites; having videos right on site makes everything more convenient for all involved, and this could be a reason for the emergence of Facebook as an important video streaming site. Right before our very eyes, Facebook is getting transformed from being a place that people head to to catch up with friends, to being a place where people can share their whole lives with each other with music, games and video in addition.