Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

YouTube Yawns at Letterman’s Extortion Story

In certain circles, David Letterman’s extortion/adultery story is huge news. On YouTube? It’s a yawn.

Don’t get me wrong: Google’s (GOOG) video site still appears to be the only place to see Letterman’s jaw-dropping admission that he has had affairs with staffers on his show and that a CBS (CBS) employee attempted to extort him with that information.

Those clips aren’t supposed to be there, and CBS and YouTube keep taking them down, but people keep uploading them. Here’s one that appears to come from a Portuguese user, for instance.

But I had a hunch that the story, which involves a man who has been on late night TV longer than many YouTube users have been alive, might not resonate with the site’s core demo. And data from video-tracking service TubeMogul make me think that’s the case. Here’s the report I got from TubeMogul marketing director David Burch:

Pirated versions only racked up 130,624 views throughout the day, mostly because CBS didn’t post an official version of the clip and was issuing take-down orders (they had already removed five versions of the clip by the time we ran our first report this morning). By way of comparison, pirated clips of the UFC Kimbo Slice fight totaled 1,074,531 views in the past 24 hours.

Oddly, CBS News’ channel released four news videos about the story today, but only had Letterman’s Madonna interview rather than the clip everyone actually wanted to see.

Never heard of Kimbo Slice before? Like Fred, he’s yet another YouTube sensation, albeit one who’s graduated to 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