Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Web Video Viewers Forget About Michael Jackson

michael-jackson-250x189Remember when Michael Jackson was one of the biggest things on the Web? So 10 days ago.

So says video views tracker TubeMogul, which illustrates its argument via a nifty interactive chart at the bottom of this post.

If you don’t like charts, here are some words: Unauthorized clips of Jackson’s July 7 funeral/memorial generated 16.6 million views on Google’s (GOOG) YouTube within 48 hours. But copies of newly unearthed footage from 1984, which shows Jackson’s hair going up in flames as he filmed a Pepsi commercial, are barely making a ripple, comparatively. Tubemogul says the clip generated fewer than 800,000 views in a 24-hour stretch.

Important distinction here: Tubemogul is tracking video views only. Anecdotally, there’s plenty of evidence that people are still interested in reading about Jackson online, especially as more and more lurid stories get out. But the YouTube audience, it seems, has moved on.

I feel a little funny about linking to or embedding the hair-fire clip. It has a sort of snuff-film quality to it, especially with the ghoulish music and commentary layered on by US Weekly, which says it has “exclusive” access to the video. But it’s easy enough to find if you want to gawk.

Here’s a more pleasant one:

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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