Japanese Internet users watched videos on YouTube and other Google sites most in December, but spent more time on the highly social local site Niconico, according to research data.
ComScore Japan said that Google's video sites got an average of 51 million hits during the month, making it the dominant host in the country. The second largest was Niconico, the video sharing site run by Dwango, with 29 million.
But the data also showed that Niconico's visitors spent more time on the site, an average of 1,300 minutes, about four times the duration they spend on Google's pages. The large gap is a reflection of the nature of the two sites.
Niconico allows users to easily overlay comments directly onto videos and have them play back at a particular time and location, making it easy to point out something interesting for future viewers. The feature can also be used for live broadcasts.
Popular videos are covered in messages that fly by as a video is played. The site also allows users to change the description tags of a video, and has become popular in the "otaku" scene centered around animations and certain types of music.
Google's traditional comments offer a less social experience, but its YouTube site has a far broader choice of content.
The data from comScore showed that U.S. website host FC2 was the third-most visited video host in Japan in December, and its users spent nearly 1,400 minutes there. They also watched an average of 11.5 videos per visit, nearly double that of the five video average of Google.
The data also showed that on YouTube's Japanese site, the VEVO music channel was the most popular, with 3.9 million unique users and 30 million page views. Many in Japan use the channel, which features music videos from artists on Universal, Sony and EMI, as an online stereo for background music.