Interesting research to come from The Pew Research Centre. The organisation undertook a survey of 15 months worth of Youtube’s ‘most viewed’ videos to discover what patterns lay in the sharing of social and viral video. It is no surprise that video is now an essential tool in telling a story, even if it includes user-generated content side-by-side with ‘proper’ journalist produced content (ref the Guardian’s ‘Open Journalism’ approach).
But what findings did Pew, who never undertake research lightly, come up with? Some quick points:
- Top viewed videos were the Japanese tsunami (No.1), Russian elections (No.2) and the Arab uprising (No.3).
- ‘News’ and ‘entertainment’ videos are happy bed-fellows.The immediacy of news events will drive a huge swell of numbers to a video whereas entertainment videos (eg. memes or virals – Kony for instance) can amass the same numbers but over a longer vperiod of time
- The source of those videos is thus: 39% were posted by members of the public (user-gernerated), 51% news, 5% political or corporate groups and the other 5% unidentified
- More than half of the most viewed videos (58%) are edited footage, the other 42% raw footage. This can crudely be divided between professional footage and UGC
- Specific individuals are not drivers of the most viewed videos. The research found that 65% of most-viewed videos did not feature one specific personality (up yours Beiber). Although Barack Obama was the most prevalent person to feature.
- The average length of the most popular videos is 2 minutes and 1 second.
So what does this all mean? It means that video, as suspected, is becoming the best way to tell a story or share an idea. Google, who own Youtube, predict that by 2014, 80% of all internet traffic will be video. That is huge. As broadband speeds increase and technology gets faster and more ocnvenient, video is no longer clunky and time-consuming to download. It is instantaneous, mobile and a powerful medium to convey a brand message or a news story. As the public ocnsumer news on the go, it has become instantly more shareable.
Traditional broadcasters shouldn’t be quaking in their boots just yet, however. There will always be a need for news analysis and special reporting, but with Google investing $200m into Premium Content Channels on its Youtube platform, more and more viewers will be drawn to these niche channels to get their dose of personalised news and if the mix of user-generated content, professional video and branded push notifications is got right – that is a potent mix for how Youtube could develop to quash television consumption as we know it.
For the full report – go here: http://www.journalism.org/analysis_report/youtube_news
Image from here