With 1.1 billion monthly users, YouTube is the undeniable champion of video on the Internet. However, with its acquisition of Adap.tv, America Online is the big money maker in the realm of advertising money.


Google vs AOL

The research firm ComScore just announced that, in September, AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL) bested Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) with 3.7 billion video ads watched compared to Google’s 3.2 billion views on YouTube.

Admittedly, it’s been quite some time since I’ve heard my computer tell me “You’ve Got Mail.” For me and others who grew up with AOL and subsequently moved elsewhere it’s easy to think of AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL) as simply the company that purchased the Huffington Post. Apparently, they are considerably more than that, having purchased a company that automates the marketplace of video ads in Adap.tv.

The ComScore numbers are impressive as Chief Executive Tim Armstrong hasn’t scored too many victories since he took over the reins of America Online.

The move to the number one spot was not a huge surprise. It came from AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL)’s ad numbers simply being added to Adap.tv’s numbers that were number two prior to the acquisition.

Amir Ashkenazi expects faster growth

“Clearly this is early. What they reflect right now is the sum of parts, but it’s where the parts are growing quickly,” Amir Ashkenazi, CEO and founder of Adap.tv, told CNET. “So I do think what you should expect is even faster growth.”

Reinforcing those numbers is the fact that no single property has seen 3.7 billion ads in ComScore’s history. Additionally, if both AOL and Adap.tv had been aggregated in August they would still have fallen short of YouTube. This suggests that something good is going on at America Online.

AOL vs Facebook

The news comes one month after AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL) overtook Facebook inc (NASDAQ:FB) in the ComScore ranking of Web properties’ unique video views. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is still the leader in that category by far, but AOL’s climb reflects Armstrong’s focus on video as the home of the fastest-growing ad market on the Web.

While I may have dismissed AOL years ago, well, I shouldn’t have. The company has penned deals with celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker and Jonathan Adler to host or star in original web series on its AOL On Network as well as recently reaching a deal with ESPN to syndicate its video clips on its site and properties such as the Huffington Post.