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Study: Web-video viewers to top 1 billion by 2013

Should the sector see this kind of growth, Google's YouTube will be sitting pretty.

A new study says that the number of people who watch online video will top 1 billion in the next five years.

As my boss, Jim Kerstetter, points out, it's unwise to put too much faith in predictions like this, but this isn't too much of a stretch.

The rapid rate at which broadband is being adopted around the world will lead the number of Web video viewers to quadruple by 2013, according to a report issued Tuesday by technology research group ABI Research.

The study also points out that Web video sites are increasingly finding more efficient ways to distribute their content.

"These include content distribution networks that cache content closer to the user," ABI Research wrote in a statement, "peer-to-peer networks which leverage users' PCs, and hybrid networks which combine these two approaches."

There's been a lot written recently about whether Google erred by acquiring YouTube, but it's this kind of growth potential for online video that still makes YouTube a good deal at $1.65 billion--provided Google can figure out the ad model.