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Study: Tykes, teens outdo adults on Youtube

A new study from Nielsen Online shows that the largest number of preschoolers and preteens go to YouTube for video. Is this a sign of TV's future?

You'd think Disney or the Cartoon Network would lure the most 2- to 11-year-olds scouting for video on the Internet. But the honors actually go to YouTube, with clips of Bugs Bunny, trains, and puppies (mixed in with "Twitter whores" and frat parties).

According to a new study from Nielsen Online, the largest number of tykes and preteens go to YouTube for video (or 4.1 million viewers aged 2 to 11), followed by the Disneychannel.com at a distant second, with 1.3 million viewers in that age bracket for the month of April. MySpace.com, NickJr, and Google Video also showed up on that list.

Their habits could signal TV's future. On average, the kids watched 51 video streams from home during April, spending almost two hours on video clips. That usage outstrips the average of nearly 75 million adults who regularly view video clips at sites like ESPN.com and CNN.com. On average in April, adults of voting age watched 44 video streams, for about 1 hour and 40 minutes of their time.

As you might expect, teens between the ages of 12 and 17 spent the most time with video in April, more than 2 hours worth; and they watched the most streams of all age groups (an average of 74 per person). Slightly disturbing, the site with the highest concentration of 12- to 17-year-olds, or 44 percent of this age group, was Stickam.com, a hub for live Webcams of people in their bedrooms. Atlantic Records and Epic Records were runners-up in that category.

But YouTube trumps all video usage among 2-year-olds, teens, and adults. In April, more than 73 million people watched as many 4 billion video clips on the Google-owned video-sharing site. That's more video streams than the combined volume of Fox Interactive Media, Yahoo, Nickelodeon Kids, MSN, ESPN, Disney, and CNN--the runners-up in the category of top video brands.

If YouTube wanted to keep its competitive edge with preschoolers and their parents, it could launch a kid-safe version of its site that filters out all those risque clips of Barbie and death threats to Elmo.