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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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald