Budzinski shops the clip to the National Geographic Channel and the Animal Planet upon his return, without much success. Yet after his video garners 33 million views on YouTube, he gets the TV executives' attention and his clip is featured on the National Geographic Channel.
Even if some people viewed the clip several times from several different computers, 33 million is a force to be reckoned with. The YouTube counter served as an indicator of how many viewers would watch the episode and how much money it would generate.
Too bad we do not have the episode's ratings or insights as to why/how the audience decided to tune into National Geographic for this program... Or, I'd like to think they did. (Why would I want to pay for cable TV or remember to tune into the program, when I can just search for the same footage online and watch the director's cut as many times as I want for free.)
The dynamic between YouTube's audience and the TV executives made me think of my former classmate Fernando Bermejo's take on online audience measurement. In his book, The Internet Audience: Constitution and Measurement, Fernando points out the following:
- the audience is the first requirement for a mass media channel to exist
- the media industry needs to define a commodity by its audience before buying or selling it