I was talking to Andy Rush and Jerry Slezak recently about the fact that the over 90 videos I have uploaded to my YouTube account have almost 360,000 views. A figure that is modest by YouTube standards, but still kind of blows my mind. And then Jerry asked the simple question, “How much time do you think people spent watching your YouTube videos?”
So, I did a very rough estimate. The average length of a video on my site is around 3 minutes, although the most watched video is a screencast of the game play of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the Atari 2600 with over 80,000 views, and it’s only a minute and a half long.
So, for arguments sake–and because I’m not smart enough to come up with some weighted mathematical equation to approximate a true figure—let’s just say the average time of each the views of these videos is 1.5 minutes. At that rate here is the total amount of time people spent watching videos on my YouTube account:
374 days (or one year and nine days)
Isn’t that trippy? Add to that the fact that all of these videos are just throw away clips from movies, video games, and stupid home made videos. Nonetheless, the fact remains that there is an insane amount of people out there watching videos of all kinds all over the web, and despite the fact that GoogleTube is cracking down more and more on copyright, this trend in video consumption will only increase with or without YouTube. The sheer volume of video out there and the number of people watching them might finally push academies and institutions of higher learning to take web video far more seriously than they currently do. The history of narrative film, television, visual aesthetics, and media genres have never been more important to educational institutions, yet they still remain the novelty course taught ever fourth semester, usually in an English or American Studies department. I’m a big fan of texts and all that, but when are we going to start take the dominant media of the 20th century seriously for study?