YouTube Is Bad For U.S. Economy

News Flash – The U.S. economy is in recession. OK, so it’s not breaking news, but I believe a major underlying cause of the economic downturn has finally been identified.

No, it’s not the subprime mortgage mess or credit default swaps or the price of oil in July. Sure, all of these factors contributed to the recession we find ourselves struggling with.

But the real culprit is YouTube.

Follow along, dear reader, as I connect the dots.

We’ve been in recession for about a year. Recently, productivity gains of past months have slowed dramatically. YouTube gained critical mass in 2007. Most of the jobs in the U.S. economy are service-oriented with many of us looking at computer screens from 8 to 5 every day. See where this is heading?

Just last week, Nielsen Online released its Topline VideoCensus Data for October 2008. The report details online video viewing habits during various time frames.

Nielsen’s research concludes that 65% of online video viewers stream content during business hours. 65% are watching online videos at some point between 8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday! The top 3 sources of online video were identified as YouTube, FOX Interactive and Hulu. YouTube traffic dwarfed the other networks in the study.

No big deal you say. YouTube videos aren’t that long, you say. Let’s run the numbers.

According to Nielsen, the average viewer spent 172 minutes watching online videos during business hours in October. The number of streams/viewer was 74 for the same timeframe. From a productivity perspective this is huge. But wait, there’s more!

There were 23 work days in October. Take 74 video streams and divide by 23. That equals 3.2 streams per day. Per day! Now add to this the 2 minutes per stream of water cooler discussion/online sharing that’s sure to follow.

That’s over 5 hours of lost productivity per viewer for the month of October thanks to YouTube.

What about eBay? Twitter? MySpace, FaceBook, the freakin’ Internet for goodness sake. Oops! Wait a second. I make my living on the Internet – never mind.

Hey, have you seen the Santa surfing video on YouTube?

Aloha and Happy Holidays!

Editor’s Note: Before you say anything, we’re not blaming the recession on YouTube. It’s a little jest to lighten the holiday spirit. But then again, Vern may be on to something…