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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Is the pendulum starting to swing back? CBS shares its YouTube stats

One of my theories about user-generated video (which is shared by execs at ABC and NBC I've spoken with this week) is that one reason for its popularity has been the dearth of professionally-produced video available online. IE, if the networks and movie studios had been quicker to put some of their video online, we might never have spent so much time watching skateboard accidents and cute kitties walking across piano keyboards.

I don't think that user-generated (or semi-professionally produced) content is going to vanish -- but it's going to increasingly have to compete with the polished stuff. We're seeing the pendulum begin to swing back from amateur to professional, with announcements like this one (I'm excerpting the CBS press release below, since it doesn't seem to be online yet):


Nearly 30 Million Views Since Partnership Began Oct. 18

Television Ratings for "Late Show with David Letterman" and "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" up 5% and 7%, respectively

NEW YORK, NY and SAN BRUNO, Calif. — One month after launching the CBS Brand Channel on YouTube, CBS’s daily feed of news, sports and entertainment clips have become some of the most widely viewed content on the site.

CBS has uploaded more than 300 clips that have a total of 29.2 million views on YouTube, averaging 857,000 views per day, since the service launched on October 18. CBS has three of the top 25 most viewed videos this month (Nov.1–17), including clips from CBS’s Tuesday night hit drama “NCIS,” “Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” and “The Early Show.” The CBS Brand Channel is also one of the most subscribed channels of all time with more than 20,000 users subscribing to CBS programming on YouTube since the channel launch last month.


Ratings for the network’s late night programs, in particular, have shown notable increases. CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman” has added 200,000 (+5%) new viewers while “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” is up 100,000 viewers (+7%) since the YouTube postings started. Although the success of these shows on YouTube is not the sole cause of the rise in television ratings, both companies believe that YouTube has brought a significant new audience of viewers to each broadcast.

Here are the Top 15 CBS videos watched this month (as of Nov. 17):

Title Total Views
1. NCIS/Cat Fight 1,603,364

2. Letterman/ Borat Meets David Letterman 1,057,180

3. Early Show/ Borat Vs Harry Smith 969,391

4. Letterman/ Bush is drinking again 698,806

5. Letterman/ Message About February for Bush 524,697

6. CBS Evening News/ Michael J Fox Talks to Katie Couric 465,563

7. CSTV/USC Cheerleaders: The Song Girls 374,623

8. CSTV/ A Field of Dreams for Judy Coffman 358,572

9. Letterman/George W. Bush Fakin’ It 357,213

10. Letterman/ Dave and Bill O’Reilly 352,747

11. Letterman/The Guy Who Swears At Dave 316,258

12. Ferguson/ Fun is Dangerous 314,093

13. Letterman/Do Maggots Go With Scorpion 278,283

14. Ferguson/ Bush visits the Un-Late Late Show 221,462

15. Ferguson/Bad Kerry 219,556


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