The top U.S. source of
news-related video clips on YouTube over the past 15 months was Fox News, but
most of those were clips from Fox News talk shows posted by individuals
commenting on them, often critically.
That is according to a new Pew Research Center study of the impact
of YouTube on the news business, which according to Pew is large and
to Pew's Project for Excellence in journalism, the "Top News Organization
Producers on YouTube," by which it means organization whose footage was
posted on YouTube, not necessarily by that organization or with its permission,
was Russia Today,
with a whopping 8.6% of the top five videos each week between January
News came in second with 3.1% of the most-viewed clips. According to the study,
more than half were posted by viewers, not Fox, and were critical of the
comments, almost all of which were made on Fox News talk shows -- Tucker
Carlson subbing for Sean Hannity in one case, Hank Williams Jr. on Fox & Friends in another, for
U.S. news organizations
claimed six of the top 10 spots according to percentage of most-viewed videos,
although Pew included the White House in that "news organization"
category. The White House has arguably become an online news producer,
featuring West Wing Week, a slickly packaged, narrated weekly roundup of White
House events and plugs for programs done in the style of a newscast and
featured on the White House Web site as well as YouTube.
News was number three with 1.5%, tied with the White House, BBC and AP. C-SPAN and CNN were tied for
fifth at 1.2%.
posting of Fox News content by individuals illustrates what Pew called the
"complex, symbiotic relationship has developed between citizens and news
organizations on YouTube." Pew says that relationship is approaching the
"continuous dialogue" model of journalism many predicted would be the
fruits of the growth of online news. But the big downside for established news
organizations looking to monetize their content online is found in the Pew
conclusion that "clear ethical standards have not developed about how to
attribute the video content moving through the synergistic sharing loop."
the ethical confusion is apparently not confined to individuals. "News
organizations sometimes post content that was apparently captured by citizen
eyewitnesses without any clear attribution as to the original
producer," say Pew researchers. "Citizens are posting copyrighted
material without permission, and the creator of some material cannot be
identified. All this creates the potential for news to be manufactured, or even
falsified, without giving audiences much ability to know who produced it or how
to verify it."
all of YouTube's drawing power -- it is the third-most-visited site behind
Google (which owns YouTube) and Facebook with over four billion daily views by
its own accounting--conventional news still draws more eyeballs.
the top 20 news videos of the past 15 months -- all of the tsunami in Japan -- drew a total of 96
million views, Pew points out that almost 22 million people a night watch the
nightly network newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC, with more tuning in to local TV
news. But in this on-demand environment, Pew suggests the value added is that
YouTube is "a place where consumers can determine the news agenda for
themselves and watch the videos at their own convenience."
rise of YouTube is a challenge and opportunity for the news business, the study
suggests. The opportunity is the chance to grow audiences, build brands and
generate some new revenue. CBS, for example, is a member of YouTube's Partner
in which the site shares revenues with CBS to promote content creation, and
many other news organizations have their own YouTube channels.
challenge is adapting and understanding the new video-sharing platform, as well
as the issues of monetizing and protecting content.
the study points out that entertainment video hit are often driven by stars,
the "lure of personality" is less of a draw for news. A majority of
news clips (65%) did not feature an individual. But there is an exception:
Philip Franchina (Philip DeFranco), who Pew describes as a YouTube phenomenon and
at least one web-friendly teenager polled by this reporter cites as her
principal source of news along with Comedy Central's The Daily Show.
claims a number of the top-viewed news clips with his quick-cut, often scatological,
frequently biting observations on the news and the passing pop culture parade.
to one study, his channel is the 16th most-watched on YouTube with north of 2
million subs, though he will no longer figure in studies of news viewing. For
the first half of 2011, nine of his videos made it to the weekly top-five most
watched, but a year ago he switched his tag from news and politics to
entertainment. Absent that, said Pew, his vlog would have claimed more top
the other key survey takeaways:
most popular news videos tended to depict natural disasters or political
upheaval-usually featuring intense visuals.
events are inherently more ephemeral than other kinds of information, but at
any given moment news can outpace even the biggest entertainment videos.
play a substantial role in supplying and producing footage.
are also responsible for posting a good deal of the videos originally produced
by news outlets [39% of footage from news outlets was posted by individuals].
most popular news videos are a mix of edited and raw footage.
in traditional TV news, the lengths of the most popular news videos on YouTube
the survey, Pew examined 260 different videos, identified by tracking the five
most-viewed videos each week on YouTube, "analyzing the nature of the
video, the topics that were viewed most often, who produced them and who posted