Analyzing the CBS YouTube Stats

Today, CBS issued a press release celebrating their first month on YouTube. I first heard of the press release on the CinemaTech blog.

Coincidentally, I was just writing a Ruby program to access YouTube data for a project I’m working on with some friends at UC Berkeley… so I decided to put it to the test against CBS’s press release data.

According to the CBS press release, the Top 15 CBS videos watched this month (as of November 17) on YouTube were (Total Views in parentheses):

1. NCIS/Cat Fight (1,603,364)
2. Letterman/ Borat Meets David Letterman (1,057,180)
3. Early Show/ Borat Vs Harry Smith (969,391)
4. Letterman/ Bush is drinking again (698,806)
5. Letterman/ Message About February for Bush (524,697)
6. CBS Evening News/ Michael J Fox Talks to Katie Couric (465,563)
7. CSTV/USC Cheerleaders: The Song Girls (374,623)
8. CSTV/ A Field of Dreams for Judy Coffman (358,572)
9. Letterman/George W. Bush Fakin’ It (357,213)
10. Letterman/ Dave and Bill O’Reilly (352,747)
11. Letterman/The Guy Who Swears At Dave (316,258)
12. Ferguson/ Fun is Dangerous (314,093)
13. Letterman/Do Maggots Go With Scorpion (278,283)
14. Ferguson/ Bush visits the Un-Late Late Show (221,462)
15. Ferguson/Bad Kerry (219,556)

According to my stats, the Top 15 CBS videos as of today (November 21) are (I’ve added the Upload Date at the end of each video):

1. NCIS Cat Fight (1,626,323) [10/17/2006]
2. Borat Meets David Letterman (1,420,773) [10/30/2006]
3. The K-Fed/Britney Sex Tape (1,152,283) [11/9/2006]
4. Borat wrestles Harry Smith (1,038,996) [11/1/2006]
5. Rumsfeld Gets Cute At The Podium (826,849) [11/9/2006]
6. Britney Spears Surprises Dave (815,027) [11/7/2006]
7. Bush is drinking again! (Late Late Show) (728,940) [10/16/2006]
8. Rumsfeld Gets Cute At The Podium (extended version) (668,323) [11/13/2006]
9. a kiss is not a kiss… (610,691) [11/3/2006]
10. Letterman’s Important Message About February for George Bush (550,967) [10/26/2006]
11. Cheerleader Whacked by Leprechaun (536,502) [11/13/2006]
12. EXCLUSIVE: Michael J. Fox Talks To Katie Couric re Rush L (473,574) [10/27/2006]
13. Playstation 3: It’s Just so Old and Outdated (414,019) [11/17/2006]
14. Kirstie Alley’s Bikini Shock (388,452) [11/20/2006]
15. USC Cheerleaders (The Song Girls): CSTV (384,265) [9/29/2006]

It’s a very different list, with eight newcomers (shown in red). Now, I have no practical way of obtaining the data for Nov. 17, so I have to work with what I have. Either CBS doesn’t want to advertise certain shows or there’s some very interesting viral growth going on here.

The newcomers where all uploaded during November, so they got quite popular very fast. Now, I don’t think CBS has some hidden agenda to hide K-Fed/Britney shows and Rumsfeld sketches (they seem quite happy to show three Bush clips on their Top 15). On the contrary, this gives me an opportunity to do some quite interesting analysis (at least until I gather more complete data on my own).

On November 17, according to CBS, a show needed about 219,000 total views to make the Top 15. That means that on 4 days, eight CBS shows gathered enough views to break into the Top 15:

At #3, the K-Fed/Britney Sex Tape (on Craig Ferguson), must have garnered almost 1,000,000 views on those four days. At #5 and #6, Rumsfeld and Britney needed about 600,000 views on those four days. At numbers 8 and 9, Rumsfeld again, and The Adventures of Old Christine, entertained close to half-a-million viewers.

Let’s list the newcomers, along with the number of viewers that watched them between November 18 (after CBS’s Top 15) and November 21 (my Top 15):

3. The K-Fed/Britney Sex Tape 932,727 Viewers [11/9/2006]
5. Rumsfeld Gets Cute At The Podium 607,293 Viewers [11/9/2006]
6. Britney Spears Surprises Dave 595,471 Viewers [11/7/2006]
8. Rumsfeld Gets Cute At The Podium (extended version) 448,767 Viewers [11/13/2006]
9. a kiss is not a kiss… 391,135 Viewers [11/3/2006]
11. Cheerleader Whacked by Leprechaun 316,946 Viewers [11/13/2006]
13. Playstation 3: It’s Just so Old and Outdated 194,463 Viewers [11/17/2006]
14. Kirstie Alley’s Bikini Shock 168,896 Viewers [11/20/2006]

Those are very interesting numbers for a four day period.

I also drew a couple of graphs to try and understand my CBS data better.

The first one plots CBS’s 328 YouTube videos, charting Total Views by Upload Date. Though a whole bunch of videos are down in the under 200K view range, there might just be a pattern forming where newer videos are gathering more views. Eventually I’ll be able to plot views over time.

CBS: Total_Viewers vs. Upload_Date

The next graph, plots Total Views for each video against the Average User Rating they received. On YouTube users may rate a video on a 1-5 scale. A “0” means the video has not been rated by any viewers. These graph shows that most CBS videos receive a rating of 2.5 or more, and that the more Views a video gets, the higher its average rating. Nothing extraordinary here.

CBS: Total_Viewers vs. Average_User_Rating

The final graph for today plots Average User Rating vs. Upload Date. Again, nothing clear but a very slight pattern might be forming where newer videos are getting higher ratings. The other funny pattern obvious from these Upload Date graphs is that CBS does not upload any videos on weekends – as evidenced by the small vertical gaps every five days.

CBS: Average_User_Rating vs. Upload_Date

So there you have it. A first attempt at analyzing CBS on YouTube. Expect more as time goes by and more data comes in.

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