New data released Wednesday show online views of videos soared 66 percent in the U.S. in February from a year earlier, with TV networks grabbing just a pittance of those eyeballs.
The numbers from comScore Inc. had executives buzzing at the National Association of Broadcasters annual meeting in Las Vegas because they are searching for ways to drive viewers to their Web sites and TV channels.
Some networks said they are stymied by instant piracy in which uploads of their content make it to other Web sites just minutes after broadcast.
The culprits often post the footage on Google Inc.'s YouTube.com, the dominant video service in the new survey.
YouTube racked up one-third of the estimated 10 billion views of online video in February, up from 15 percent last year, according to comScore.
"We still see our content pop up on YouTube," Sandy Malcolm, executive producer of CNN.com, a unit of Time Warner Inc., said during the broadcasters meeting.
"You deal with it," she said. "You try to work with them on rights and things, but I don't think you can completely stop it. You just try to beat the tide and try to get your content out as fast as you can."
Excluding AOL.com, Time Warner sites including CNN.com grabbed just a 1.3 percent share of video views on the Internet in February, or roughly 133 million views, comScore reported.
Other TV-based entities remained back in the pack, with ABC.com attracting 98 million views, or a 1 percent share.
Even as the YouTube juggernaut continued to attract more viewers, comScore analyst Andrew Lipsman said TV networks were fighting back.
He cited last month's launch of Hulu.com, a video Web site that's a joint venture of General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal and News Corp.
"It seems there's a certain amount of attention and investment going online right now," Lipsman said.
The move was necessary to adapt to "irreversible shifts" in the content delivery business, said Sheau Ng, NBC Universal's vice president of broadcast and consumer technology.