Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Another Obama Winner: YouTube, Of Course

At this point, it’s going to be difficult to find a media company that hasn’t gotten a bump from Tuesday’s election and the run-up before it: Local TV got ad dollars; national TV got ratings; the New York Times’ Wednesday edition became a collector’s item; it was a record day on Digg and Twitter; etc.

But, for the record, here’s another winner: YouTube. This has nothing to do with the fact that Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt stumped for Obama, but with the fact that YouTube users are furiously uploading versions of Obama’s Tuesday evening victory speech.

Video tracking service Visible Measures says it has tracked more than 500 versions of the clip embedded below (primarily on YouTube), which had generated some 6.8 million views by this morning. At least two million of those are coming from Obama’s official channel.

But as Obama bumps go, this one is relatively small. As of this afternoon, the speech had yet to crack YouTube’s most popular videos of the month page, which is where we learned that a new video of a nearly-naked Britney Spears has been viewed more than nine million times.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work