evidence that extending content into audience spaces works

When audience members take content from mainstream media organisations and post it elsewhere, for example a video clip of a program posted on YouTube, they aren’t (leaving aside for the moment that they’re fairly obviously breaking copyright laws) doing something bad for the program. At least, that’s what I’m always arguing here.

Evidence now comes from a CBS press release that reveals that, since they started posting their television content on YouTube, audiences have increased:

“CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman” has added 200,000 (+5%) new viewers while “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” is up 100,000 viewers (+7%) since the YouTube postings started.” [via twopointouch]

For the sake of newcomers, let’s go over this again. A TV program has an audience. In a multi-channel world, it’s difficult, and often expensive, to find an audience for a new program. YouTube and other video sharing, photo sharing, and social networking websites have huge and growing audiences. They may not have ever heard of the program or station from which a clip they find online has come from. If they enjoy the clip, they might just watch the program. Audience size will increase, as will reach, and everyone benefits: content producers, content owners, broadcasters, advertisers, bloggers (and youtube contributors), and audiences. This doesn’t, by the way, just happen with video based content – it’s true of any creative content whether it be text, ideas, audio, or video.

Extending reach into the places where audiences congregate makes so much sense.

[Update: Jake Shapiro has more]


  1. Good post, Robin. If it appears that content sharing is good for increasing audiences/reach but, as you remind us, illegal… do we change the law or do organisations turn a blind eye? Should some tell Universal that their copyright infringing music and video on MySpace is actually doing them a favour?

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