People Aren't Watching More YouTube Because Of The Strike

This YouTube site, it could be big! Pew Research says YouTube's grown 18% since the writers' strike began, and the BBC says that means people are looking to the web to fill the video void, a story bloggers predicted last fall. The New York Post claims the same. Wrong: YouTube's growth isn't much faster than usual; the site has enjoyed accelerating growth since it launched in 2005. In fact, it might have dropped off in January. Video sites Break.com and Veoh remain flat by comparison, and MySpace video hasn't grown enough to have much effect on the site as a whole. Maybe it's because web video resembles the still-running reality shows more than the scripted shows that suffer from the strike. But the growth of YouTube has nothing to do with the aborted TV season.

Statistics 101: You can't judge current growth without comparing it to earlier periods.

Alexa
People Aren't Watching More YouTube Because Of The Strike
Note that this is YouTube's traffic as a percentage of the whole Internet. The January dropoff? Maybe people are working online again, or maybe there's no easily packageable explanation.

Compete
People Aren't Watching More YouTube Because Of The Strike
Maybe a tiny bump — one that affects YouTube much less than its natural massive growth. Which is possibly an even more damning indictment of TV vs. the web.

The Beeb cites growth at Crackle.com, not exactly an industry leader. The Post says Revver has gone from 800 thousand views a day to 1.2 million (under three times the daily traffic of Gawker). Assuming this is because of the strike, these sites are still just a tiny corner of the Internet. The growth is unimportant in the long run, when the strike inevitably ends.

Dear media-beat journalists: Maybe the Internet isn't a direct replacement for TV! Maybe you shouldn't so readily take pitches from struggling video sites! Maybe you could find a better narrative! Maybe your insistence on this narrative is also a sad indictment of traditional media, but there's probably a chart to prove that wrong.