It has somehow escaped our attention until this very moment that Deadline has been running ratings charts for all those YouTube channels that have been launching for the past year. Here’s the latest one. While Warner Music’s The Warner Sound was #1 with more than 7 million views, other channels we’ve mentioned here showed up at various spots: MachanimaPrime at #13, Nerdist at #14, Shut Up Cartoons at #20, and Cartoon Hangover at #29 with just over 700,000 weekly views.
What’s interesting about this chart, to us anyway, is that it’s directly measurable: when YouTube launched it made viewing numbers immediately visible, a transparency lacking in many other fields, but which has led to the familiar “Over 13,000,0000 views on YouTube!” claims for videos of farting walruses, double rainbows, and idiotic people snapping bones in two.
It also reminds us that any numbers on digital comics remains completely opaque—with resulting confusion about numbers and any real sense of metrics beyond the comparative ones, or occasional Ted Adams speech.
But what if it hadn’t been that way? Some webcomics are free and easy with their readership numbers. What if digital comics had had a similar, readily available “views” statistic? While a comic is not as popular as an idiot snapping a bone in two, could this lead to more fanfare around higher viewership? Like if Randall Munroe said “This comic has been viewed 1,000,000 times,” or whatever?
At any rate, it’s interesting to see a medium with such complete transparency for a change.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.