Eric Johnson

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YouTube: Gamers Watch a Ton of Our Videos, and They’re Actually Engaged

youtube380Despite its enormous popularity, YouTube is still figuring out the best way to turn eyeballs into dollars.

So it makes sense that the first company-issued white paper, out this morning, zeroed in on an audience that is delivering reliable and rapidly growing returns: Gamers. According to “Gamers on YouTube: Evolving Video Consumption,” engagement from the videogame-playing audience “jumped 9X year-over-year in 2012.”

For any of you unfamiliar with the site, “engagement” in YouTube’s case is measured in how users comment, share and like or dislike videos using built-in tools and buttons. Meanwhile, the white paper also said viewers’ time spent with gaming-related content more than doubled in the same time frame, comparing 2012 to 2011.

Gamers, then, seem to be an obvious audience with whom YouTube can build a stronger case for itself with advertisers. If, as YouTube claims, gamers “rely on online video” to stay informed about the games they care about, the positive engagement numbers are more than just numbers — they’re indicators that YouTube wants to and is able to offer something that’s unique and valuable to a desirable demographic.

That said, this is hardly a big new revelation for YouTube and its parent company. Google has invested directly in exactly one outside video company, the gaming site Machinima, which recently raised $35 million and is looking for at least that much in a new “mega-round” of funding.

Though the white paper expectedly doesn’t reference any specific video-view numbers, YouTube success story Machinima currently rakes in about 2 billion video views per month.

YouTube’s full report on gaming is available here.

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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