I was more than a little astounded to learn about Cyber Monday, that buying stuff on the Internet the first day back from work after Thanksgiving had become so integral a part of life that it warranted a name. Now it turns out that the workday is also the time when the most videos are watched online, too. “With a 96 percent broadband penetration among at work Web visitors in October and many employees spending nearly eight hours a day at their computers, workdays are prime time for online video viewing,” says Nielsen (pdf). More people watch YouTube at work than at home: 65 percent of video viewing occurs between the hours of 9 to 5. When most people leave work, YouTube viewership falls: 49 percent watch between the hours of 5 and 8pm, 43 percent between 8 and 11pm. There’s less diurnal viewing during the weekend, as only 51 percent of online viewers watch videos at that time.

While the amount of time spent watching videos was more in 2008 than last year, the number of viewers has decreased three percent, which is surprising, as the amount of quality video has grown this year, especially with Hulu’s going live in March, and TV studios increasingly making their shows available for online viewing.

Hulu fans and advertisers will be interested to note that the site’s use continues to grow quickly, growing from roughly 6 million unique viewers in September to 9 million in October. It still has a while to go to catch up with YouTube, though, whose viewership is now nearly 82 million strong, though.

By Mark Alvarez