MUMBAI: Nearly three-quarters of India's internet population now watch video content on the web, with YouTube and Facebook among the most popular digital destinations.

Figures from the research firm revealed that 30.2m people aged 15 years old and above participated in this pastime at home or work during January 2011, equivalent to 72% of the possible audience.

The typical viewer enjoyed 58 separate pieces of material across the month, collectively lasting four hours overall.

Google's stable led the charts, receiving 23.6m unique users, who accessed a total of 785m items and remained on the company's sites for 101 minutes apiece.

YouTube contributed the vast majority of these numbers, accounting for 781m hits and 44.5% of all content streamed by consumers.

Facebook, the social network, claimed second but trailed some way further back, with 6.6m members playing 30.1m clips, although the average dwell time stood at only 12.4 minutes.

Metacafe occupied third, attracting 3.9m people, who watched 33.8m videos for a combined period of 35 minutes each.

Yahoo's various portals delivered 2.8m viewers, who generally stayed on its pages for just 13 minutes, and observed almost 11m offerings in all.

Dailymotion completed the top five, and possesses a particularly loyal fan base, as 2.7m netizens accessed 24.1m videos, watching for 56.5 minutes on an individual basis.

Network 18, a media group with partners including CNBC, CNN and Viacom, was the highest scoring operator on the last of these metrics, holding the attention of its 1.2m users for 109 minutes each.

"Online video viewing is quickly becoming a central activity for internet users in India," Joe Nguyen, comScore's vp, Southeast Asia, said.

"The online video platform offers advertisers and marketers the opportunity to reach audiences in an engaging environment, providing the potential for significant brand interaction and awareness building.

"As broadband penetration in India continues to increase, we expect to see online video continue to grow and become an increasingly important channel for marketers to reach audiences in the burgeoning Indian online market."

Placing India in an international context, the country currently takes fourth position in terms of online video penetration, comScore added.

The US leads the way, yielding 154m viewers, over 85% of the connected community, and 15.8 hours in January, closely followed by Brazil, 0.4% behind, as 34.4m people took part in this pastime for 7.7 hours.

Elsewhere, the UK logged 18.3 hours for consumer usage time of web video, an 82.5% reach, equating to 31.9m netizens.

Singapore posted an 81.4% engagement rate, with 2.3m individual users, while Australia has 10.6m, a 78.6% uptake level.

India may boast lower penetration and interest than the leading players at present, but comScore is positive about its future prospects.

"The potential exists for this burgeoning online market to see continued growth in the online video platform as a key part of consumers' digital experience," the company said.

Data sourced from comScore; additional content by Warc staff