Numbers are everything on YouTube since it began to seriously model itself after traditional television.
Now Nielsen, the ratings company, is including viewership data on YouTube partners through its Nielsen VideoCensus tool, which will allow subscribers to find detailed ratings and who’s watching the channel.
“With consumers increasingly turning to multiple devices to watch their favorite video content, we understand the importance of providing our clients the full view of how consumers engage—no matter the platform,” wrote Nielsen’s Marco Parente on the YouTube Creator Blog. “We are excited to work with YouTube on bringing a deeper level of YouTube Partner content reporting to Nielsen clients globally.”
Basically, Nielsen’s comprehensive surveys find out what kind of people watch these channels, how many people connect to the channels and how many people are watching programs at any given time. It weeds out bot and robot traffic to put an accurate picture of how many actual views are registered to deter those who inflate their views through irregular means.
However, the VideoCensus tool only covers some of the mobile audience, so it still has a long way to go before creators and statistics lovers will get the full picture.
If all goes to plan, soon it will become a serious indicator of success. Creators will be constantly reminded of whether people are looking at their channels or not, so it may result in a greater push for quality content from partners. Looking at numbers should be seen as a positive for partners and creators because it would push them to do better; if artists don’t have a good understanding of who’s watching and what works, how will they strive to make content that appeals to their audience and push them outside the box?
The introduction of Nielsen into the mix will also mean a metamorphosis for YouTube; it will mean that television-like practices like relying on ratings and funding original programming will become standard in order to get top advertising money. Advertisers are always concerned about the numbers and good, quality content will be superseded by the power of views.