YouTube Doesn't Want You To Know How Many People Are Watching Videos People Pay To See

YouTube Doesn't Want You to Know How Many People Are Watching Videos People Pay to See

YouTube's attempt to break into the original content game isn't anything revolutionary. In fact, you could say that they're late to the party Hulu, Amazon and Netflix are throwing. And in some desperate attempt to fit in, they have taken view counts off of YouTube Red shows. That's the play that Netflix has been famous for. As Wired points out, no one knows how many people watched Daredevil or Orange Is the New Black. And, ostensibly, Netflix doesn't care. It's really rare for any of that data to get out. They want the buzz that comes from their shows to entice people to pay. Awards and good press is more valuable, in theory, than knowing how many people who already pay them are watching.

The problem for YouTube is that it's not launching a brand new service. YouTube Red looks exactly the same as any other YouTube video, except for the tiny "Red" bar under the video title -- and the missing view counter.

Netflix is for sitting at home and watching whatever you want. YouTube is for watching the thing everyone is watching right this second and commenting on it. People want to see the videos that managed to crack a million views. They have a playlist for those who manage to break one billion views. So the missing view counter is weirdly alienating, if you're a fan of the people YouTube Red has recruited.

It makes some sense. View counts are an essential part of YouTube buzz. But there's no way a video that only people who've paid to subscribe could beat a free video that the entire world could watch. You might say that YouTube hides the view count so the new Red shows don't get called failures too early. In this case, it may just be that the cure is worse than the disease.


WATCH MORE: Entertainment News


    I don't think I've ever seen anyone care about how many views a video has, except for one of two sentences: "How the hell does this shit have so many views?" and "How does this have so few views, it's awesome!" Aside from speculation about popularity, it really doesn't matter to anyone but the creator of the video.

    In this case, it may just be that the cure is worse than the disease.

    Don't be ridiculous. It's just a number beneath a video. You know, the video whose content you're there to watch. That should be what matters, not how many other people happened to watch it before you did.

      Views do matter: In a channel I look for videos with the most views (my rationale being that they will be the best ones). There will a lot of copied videos but the one with the highest views will be the real one. Basically the main point of views is (for me and lots of other people) is that it's a measure of how good the video is going to be. And you might say that's not a good way to judge a video but I don't want to waste time watching a video finding out its a waste.

        Your rationale doesn't make sense. Why would a video with the most views be the best one? By that logic, Justin Bieber makes the best videos on Youtube.

          Well if you do a search and get 100+ results, it's possibly an indicator as to where to go. if I'm looking for an official music video, then those with more clicks are likely to have what I'm looking for where those with a few dozen are often someone's attempt to play a song to a black background with either lyrics or random still images popping up.

          Same for trailers where the official one will have a few million views and those with 1000 are often some trash with someone doing a voice over in a silly voice.

          I don't think view count necessarily indicates that the content is the best of the web in isolation, but it is a tool that can be used when searching, particularly for something likely to be mainstream and widely viewed like music videos or official film trailers.

          That said, for films labelled as being paid YouTube Red content, I'm not sure that applies as much since the branding of the video will give it away instead.

          Last edited 14/02/16 4:50 pm

            Surely the name of the channel would go much further toward telling you whether a music video or movie trailer is official than the view count. If I see a video called "Deadpool Official Trailer" and it's on the 20th Century Fox channel, that's pretty much all the assurance I'd need. If it's on "Herpaderp LOL", probably best to avoid it.

            I agree with your last sentence, I don't think there's likely to be much confusion about whether the content of a Red channel is official or not.

              If the distributer, band or Vevo have the content available then yeah, the channel name works. Some clips I've had to resort to non official sources to get the content though for whatever reason. In those cases view count can be a good indicator.

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