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3 Streaming-Video Stock Plays

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The streaming-video market is booming.

According to market research firm, ComScore, more than 178 million Americans watched over 5.2 billion videos in July alone. The average viewer watched 882 minutes of content during the month. All told, a whopping 84.9% of the entire American viewing audience watched at least one online video in July.

Google (GOOG):

Mainly through its YouTube platform, Google become a major player in the streaming market. In fact, comScore found that the search giant, led all video destinations in July with more than 143 million unique viewers.

Considering Google is heavily invested in online streaming, and it has the viewership that advertisers are looking for, Google could benefit heavily from streaming video's growth in the coming years.

But it didn't always look that way.

After acquiring YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006, some wondered if Google made the right move by paying so much for a company that wasn't profitable.

But now, it seems that Google did make the right move. It is both the leading video provider on the Internet and the Web's top advertiser. Those two elements should eventually help YouTube turn a profit.

In fact, Barclay analyst Douglas Anmuth reported earlier this year, that he expected the video site to generate $700 million in 2010, representing its first profit.

Akamai (AKAM):

Like Google, the success of streaming has only helped Akamai. According to the company's home page, it averaged over 1.4 million media streams today alone through its media-delivery service.

Akamai says it provides digital-media distribution to "five of the top six online music sites, 29 out of the 30 media/entertainment companies." Most importantly, it provides media distribution for Apple's (AAPL) iTunes platform, the world's largest music store and an increasingly viable video-streaming service.

Perhaps that is why Akamai has enjoyed such success over the past few years. In 2006, the company generated $428 million in revenue and a $57 million profit. Last year, that figure rose to nearly $860 million in revenue and $146 million in profit.

Meanwhile, investors are jumping at the chance to get in on Akamai's success. At the beginning of 2009, its stock price was at approximately $15 per share. As of this writing, the company's shares are trading above $46.

Going forward, things look bright for Akamai. As Merriman Curran analyst Richard Fetyko pointed out in a research note earlier this year: "More Web-connected devices like the iPad, mobile devices, IPTV, and HD content will continue to drive volumes up dramatically in the next two-three years."

In other words, Akamai has enormous upside.

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