comScore has just published data from the Video Metrix service which shows that the number of online videos being viewed here in the UK is up 47 percent on a year ago and fast approaching 5 billion in April 2009 when the measuring period ended. Google did best out of the sharp upturn in online video viewing habits, with YouTube display advertising reaching some 18 million people during that month. Hardly surprising when it seems everyone, including the Pope, uses YouTube these days and there is 30 minutes of YouTube video uploaded every single second.

According to the data, in April 2009 some 4.7 billion online videos were viewed in the UK by 21.8 million UK Internet users. Because all of this has to be commercially driven, and in the world of online video monetization comes by way of display advertising, the good news is that they also viewed a total of 971 million online display adverts on multimedia sites during the month.

Google has good reason to be happy, coming out rather unsurprisingly as the top UK online video property with 2.1 billion videos viewed, up 58 percent on the same period the year before. YouTube, by the way, accounts for 99 percent of all videos viewed within the Google realm. YouTube also led the way when it came to multimedia display advertising reach, it had 18.5 million visitors in April who viewed a total of 621 million display ads.

"With nearly five billion videos viewed in the U.K. in April, online video is a powerful and growing vehicle for online advertising placement," said Mike Read, SVP and managing director, comScore Europe. "The online video market currently relies heavily on display ads for monetization, and in the coming months and years we can expect that video ads will play an even more prominent role. Despite the market’s overwhelming size and audience at this phase of the growth curve, it is also clear that we’re still in the early stages of advertising optimization and effectiveness in this increasingly important entertainment channel."

The BBC managed to come second behind the Google YouTube behemoth with 79,416,000 video views which was an increase of some 67 percent. Microsoft could only manage a 5th placing in the chart on 30,205,000 which was up 26 percent on the previous year.