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What the bridge collapse videos tell us about YouTube's audience

Just a few minutes ago, I went to YouTube to gauge the view count of videos showing the tragic collapse of the I-35 bridge over the Mississippi River at Minneapolis yesterday.I was expecting to see one video broadly leading the pack.
Written by Russell Shaw, Contributor on

Just a few minutes ago, I went to YouTube to gauge the view count of videos showing the tragic collapse of the I-35 bridge over the Mississippi River at Minneapolis yesterday.

I was expecting to see one video broadly leading the pack.

Instead, I found the most watched bridge collapse video - a fly-over of the scene minutes after the collapse- ranked "only" tenth. More page views were garnered in posts about Oprah Winfrey, lonelygirl15, Faith Hill, and Whoopi Goldberg.

The fact that the top-ranked YouTube "bridge collapse" video leaves me with three trains of thought:

1. The increased licensed nature of YouTube is starting to have an effect on users who had reflexively gone their first for news video. They now go to news station websites first.

2. YouTube is far more a celebrity news cultural environment than a "standard news" (whatever that is) environment.

3. YouTube viewers want actual action. I have to think if a video of the actual collapse- which CNN held as an exclusive for some 12 hours before releasing it to other media outlets- had been up on YouTube, its most viewed rank would be much higher than tenth.

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