YouTube Is A Global Media Property

My friend Steve Kane left an interesting comment on yesterday’s post about analog dollars and digital pennies. In it he noted the following:

any case, i’m not sure what comscore is counting, but most other
measurements services give youtube roughly 65 million *unique* visitors
per month…

contrast, the CBS network alone amalgamates nearly 200 million viewers
— in just one week, and just in the three evening hours of prime time!,100…

never seen nielsen de-duplicate viewers numbers within a network, but
let’s say 50% of those 200MM are duplicated. heck, lets say 75%

just one network, CBS, equals or betters youtube’s entire monthly
audience in just 21 hours (one week of three hour slots)

That caused me to go back to comscore get the exact numbers. YouTube’s monthly worldwide audience was 344mm in October according to comscore and 55mm visited each day. I don’t know what the weekly numbers are but I bet that they are about what CBS gets.

But this post is not about rebutting Steve. His comments are spot on and contributed to the discussion, which is a very good one.

What I hadn’t realized when I wrote the post yesterday is how large YouTube’s global audience is and how much of it is outside of the US. Here’s the raw stats:


YouTube’s audience maps pretty closely to the web’s audience around the world. It’s most popular (on a relative basis to worldwide audience) in europe and slightly less popular (on a relative basis) in asia and latin america. But it is signficant to note that YouTube’s audience in asia-pacific is roughly the same as it is in the US.

Unlike the CBS network, YouTube is a global media property and it reaches every corner of this planet. While many of the videos are in english, a growing number are in other languages.

What is also true about YouTube is that the size of the audiences for individual shows can be as large as a network TV show. CSI was viewed by 18.5mm viewers last week. YouTube has five pages of videos (20 videos per page) that have been viewed more than 25mm times.

I am not arguing here that network style television (long form, story driven) is not a superior form of entertainment. I think the succcess of Hulu to date proves that is. And we know that Hulu will be a much more attractive venue for advertisers for at least a few more years.

But I am amazed at the scale and reach of YouTube and what it tells us about video entertainment delivered over the Internet. If CBS wants CSI to reach 100mm viewers instead of 20mm each week, it can do that on the Internet with worldwide distribution. And I am sure that’s going to happen someday, hopefully soon.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. Luiss

    Fred, I noticed that Mexico & Brasil are separated from Latin America. Why is that?Should the number for the region be 59.2 for Monthly Uvs, 9.3 Daily Uvs, 28.7% of WW and a web audience share of 11%

    1. fredwilson

      No, they are not broken out, I just included them as well.Same with india in pac-asiaThe regional numbers include all the countries in the region

  2. Roman Giverts

    actually most popular shows eventually are licensed internationally. So they get the 100mm eyeballs internationally anyway, just not usually at one time.

  3. PKafka

    Fred, isn’t it great to be able to come back to the same topic with a new take on two different days? One of the reasons I love blogs. In any case, comparing YouTube’s all-time greatest hits to a week’s worth of CSI isn’t apples/apples. If you look at this week’s most popular videos: you’ll see that only a few top more than 1M views (not people). There are pros and cons, from an advertiser’s perspective, to buying a medium that is time-specific vs. long-lived, but that’s a different discussion.Side note: it is telling that so many of those top videos of all times are music videos produced by the big labels. I’m just not sure what that means (and, I suspect, the big labels don’t, either).

    1. fredwilson

      I noticed the music video thing to. A lot of people listen to music videos instead of buying the music

      1. vincentvw

        There was an excellent “Face Value” in last week’s The Economist on MTV’s CEO Judy McGrath (here:… Essentially, the people that MTV used to cater too with music videos are now being catered too by YouTube. Whether or not that has anything to do with music sales, I can’t say. I would guess piracy is a large factor here.

  4. Blofeld

    Maybe this comment should go in the other thread (if so, I’ll port it over) but I think a logical way to look at digital and analog is that both will continue to co-exist for many years. But the implications of this continued co-existence are different for partisans (for lack of a better term) on either side. The case for co-existence:First, original scripted programming for television can continue to live (for now at least) because in many ways it gets the benefit of the web as a promotional tool. Ad dollars still go to both worlds, and most big national advertisers will not be giving up on TV anytime soon. Same goes for original programming produced for pay cable such as HBO. Subscriber revs pay those bills. Programmers get the benefit of web buzz, social networking, people buying DVD box sets on Amazon, etc. All these are ways in which the existence and growth of the web are sort of mitigated from the point of view of traditional analog programmers. They can live with the current state of affairs. It’s not as fat and happy as the good old days, but it’s plenty profitable and it’s still a business people want to be in (witness the amount of Ivy League graduates who still send spec scripts out to Hollywood before settling for the Plan B job offer from Lazard).So for the moment I don’t think analog TV is in nearly the panic that digital people like to think. By contrast, I do think there are some in the digital startup world who need analog to crash sooner rather than later so that their biz models can bear fruit. There are web startups and services out there that are not getting quite the ad dollars they thought they would by now, and so there’s a sense that the inexorable process of shifting over to digital needs to be sped up (this is the Faster Please chorus). So what you get is a lot of denigration of the analog world, the old studio production model, the legacy labor contracts, the expensive writer/producer cadre, etc. Bottom line: the analog TV biz can live with the current trajectory for probably another decade or two. But some of the digital world, by contrast, is coming to the conclusion that the trajectory needs to be changed in their favor if they are to make it as big and as soon as they had hoped. I guess the question is: are you OK with the rate of change?

  5. Steven Kane

    Hi FredThat is fascinating – I had no idea YouTube was such a multi-national phenomenon!There’s a very simply way I know YouTube and Hulu et al own the future — at dinner last night I asked my 7 and 10 year old sons a question, “If you could only have one, which would rather have, TV or the computer?” Fast simple answer, “The computer.” “Why?” I asked. My ten year old shook his head at the silliness of the question. “Oh Dad,” he said, “Because we can watch TV on the computer!”One technical question though — I linked to, which shows YouTube as having 63MM monthly unique visitors, not 300MM. Or am I not reading that correctly?

    1. fredwilson

      I believe the compete numbers are US only. I’ll check into thatYour kids and my kids are the people we should be watching and listening to as we invest in the futureFred

  6. jamesgross

    Fred, Like this post and your post from yesterday. Extremely relevant for companies looking to create value online especially those primarily funded by the Ad/CPM world.Kevin Kelly’s Laws of Value apply here. From his Ted Presentation: Copies Have no Value.Value is in the Uncopyable.Media wants to be liquid.Network Effects Rule.

  7. vincentvw

    I bookmarked this article, even though I’m always surprised when US people are surprised that media-consumption is a global phenomenon. Piracy is, in my opinion, something that arose around the globe mostly, because companies essentially do not treat regions equally. This started with cinema- and dvd-releases which were served to different regions in delays and it frustrated us Europeans to no end that we had to read about lines queing up for some kick-ass film in the US, while we had to wait. Most recently, Wall-E, which was released in the US first and for which I had to avoid reviews for several weeks before getting a chance to see it here in the Netherlands. Typically Disney…Even worse is the lackluster online-media landscape, where iTunes video is being released in countries sporadically, the Kindle is US-only, Pandora is US-only, etc. Why people then just go hit the torrents is not surprising whatsoever.I’m happy to read about YouTube’s global audience, another point for Google, I guess.

    1. fredwilson

      Totally agree!!

    2. jefftala

      Hulu is US only as well. Assuming you don’t fake your IP address 🙂

  8. jefftala

    Canada has 15 million unique visitors every month? There’s only 32 million of us in total :)I doubt that nearly half of Canadians are clicking over to YouTube every month. I’m sure this just means that some us are doing it from multiple browsers, deleting our cookies, or from multiple machines. In other words, take “unique visitors” with a grain of salt.

  9. rah33ls

    my usage of youtube has picked up A LOT recently. previously most of it was a centered around the ‘lean forward exerience’ from friends sending short clips.but the election changed that. during the election period their personalization tools turned out to be vital for finding specific information about the campaign — the ubiquity of participants contributing was unprecedented (backfill and longtail is really starting to pay off). With my personlized channels — so honed in (which i’ve spent time working at like an rss feed) — in all honesty, i can now find more relevant material to what I want to watch than on normal broadcast. so this is now starting to become a ‘lean back experience’. that’s when things start become really interesting.secondly, comparing youtube to services like hulu etc is like comparing apples and oranges. think of all the value points that youtube is hitting right now. pretty much every single one. the serendipity value truly is remarkable — YT have been very patient — in really following this thing through — and it looks like it may start paying always, search is their weapon here. did you see the recent stats on young people using youtube as an information utility? remarkable. it seems, search is starting to become a killer utility in providing the sweet spot video service (professional content makers — take note!!).however, there is room for improvement. personalization tools – primarily.

  10. gordonmattey

    You inspired me to back up the principle that attention is relatively scarce and content relatively abundant, it is interesting to use these stats to work out the average ratio of Available Video : Attention.On YouTube (US numbers only)Total Attention80 Million Uniques x 54.7 Average Views x 2.9 Mins Viewed ~ 12.6 Billion minutes ViewedTotal Available Video780 Minutes Every Minute Uploaded x 60 x 24 x 30 x 23.3% (US % of wordwide) ~ 7.8 Million minutes UploadedVideo : Attention ratio ~ 1 minute : 1616 minutesSo for every minute produced, it is viewed for 1616 minutes. I didn’t even factor in what is already on the site, this is assuming all attention in one month goes to what is uploaded in the same period of time.On Traditional TV (US only)Total Attention275 minutes x 300 million x 30 days = 2.5 Trillion minutes / monthTotal Available Video110,000 minutes x 30 days = 3.3 Million minutes / monthVideo : Attention ratio = 1 minute : 750,000 minutes Content availability is exploding and attention is decreasing.Attention really is relatively scarce.Source notes:These numbers also don’t consider an individuals total viewing minutes across other sites, not just YouTube, but average viewing should increase in line with increases in video availability.YouTube – Average Videos / Viewer – 54.7YouTube – Average Minutes Viewed per Video – 2.9 minutes… (Numbers from Google Sites Sept 2008)YouTube – Content Uploaded – 13 hours uploaded every minutehttp://googleblog.blogspot…. (YouTube Sept 2008)TV – Average Viewing Per Day – 275 minutes per individual…TV – Average Minutes of Video Available per Day – 104.2 Channels available on average * 44 minutes (every hour) * 24 = 110,000 minutes… (2006 numbers)

    1. fredwilson

      Wow. That’s really eye opening

  11. vincentvw

    “Television broadcasting, after all, is about advertising.”well-said.