Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

MTV’s Miley Cyrus VMA Video So Terrible You Watched It 10 Million Times

miley cyrus is not naked on the vmasYou guys! OMG you guys!

Do you know that if you do something super crazy and provocative that involves sex* and put it on TV, that lots of people will talk about it on the Internet?

What’s that? You do know that?


Well, then you won’t be surprised to see this press release from MTV, crowing about its results from yesterday, which was the day after Miley Cyrus did something so terrible that everyone simply had to talk about it and watch it and then talk about it and watch it again: “2013 MTV VMA’s Shatters Records Across Web, Mobile and Social.”

The data points: Yesterday, Viacom’s reality-TV and occasional music-video channel drew 11 million digital visitors, its highest one-day total ever. And the video clip of Cyrus and Alan Thicke’s son doing the worst thing ever recorded* generated 10 million streams, another record.

Because, you know.

We can note that one reason the stream total was so high was that Viacom/MTV was quite good about distributing the clip widely — I saw it on Twitter, on my iPhone, within a few hours of the apocalypse — while also keeping it off of YouTube.

So, if you wanted to watch Miley Cyrus destroying society as we know it, you couldn’t do it on the world’s biggest website (still locked in a legal battle with Viacom). (Update: I was completely wrong about that! Turns out Viacom was content to let YouTube stream its clips all day long, many millions of times.)

But you could do it on Viacom’s site. And, um, sites like this.

* But not actual sex
* But still totally viewable on mainstream TV.

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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