Magazines Are Read All Over But Seldom Seen On YouTube

One place you’re not as likely to bump into your favorite print magazine is on YouTube, a new study says. A report from Touchstorm says that only 115 magazines out of 1,547 it studied had a “meaningful audience” of 10 million or more YouTube views and 52% had less than 100,000 views.

To which I might say -- oh, so what? Except that YouTube is the second-largest search engine there is, so not being able to find a magazine’s presence there does seem to be a major omission. There's a nice audience out there. Touchstorm says 92 magazines studied in 18 different publishing categories had more YouTube views than the number of print subscribers.

By one measure (and this study provides plenty) the most aggressive publishing house on YouTube is Conde Nast, which has 10 YouTube channels with more than 10 million views. Cosmo generates the most likes, which for some reason strikes me odd.

There’s some interesting data about what YouTube can do for magazines, most of it presented in a way that you know you’re being sold from a particularly Touchstormy point of view in which YouTube has all the life-giving properties of, say, water.



This report picks a few magazines that seem distinguished on the social site, and makes some points that would seem to work for almost all businesses. 

Basically, it gets down to this: If you’re a magazine already producing video, and if you’re a magazine with a big name in the editorial space you occupy, a YouTube channel is just an easy, no-brainer way to exploit your brand name and at scale.

I suspect publishers figure that now that they’re putting real money into their Web sites it seems crazy to give away content to YouTube.

Based just on views, National Geographic tops the list, with over 1 billion. Based on TVi scores -- a kind of blend of factors that lets magazines of various categories be rated against each other -- Vice is tops (naturally) followed by BBC Top Gear and then National Geographic. The Top 20 is heavy on car magazines and beauty books, many of them geared toward younger readers/viewers. Billboard, at number 12, seems to be the top trade-like publication.

But Touchstorm concludes, most magazines beyond the top 6, are slackers; 87% earn less than a 500 TVi number (on a scale of 1,000).

And in case you’re wondering, Time publications bring in 25% of all the print subscribers on the list of 85 publishing groups in the study, but just 7.4% of the views on YouTube. Number 2, Meredith, with 12.5% of all print subscribers, gets just 0.5% of the total YouTube magazine video views. That’s weird, this study says (in nicer language than that) because Meredith (and Bonnier and Rodale) have titles that get YouTube attention, but not too much attention--because those publishers aren’t pushing it.

Some gems from this study:

The most popular video, ever, on all magazine-centric YouTube channels:National Geographic’s “Cobra vs. Mongoose,” with 69 million views.

Most popular on a “news, politics history” magazine channel: “Trapped in an Elevator,” from The New Yorker, with 8.4 million views.

Most popular “outdoor life” magazine channel video: “How To Clean, Fillet and Skin an Alligator” from Florida Sportsman, with 4.7 million views.

And finally, a possible indication that a video of watching paint dry is not that crazy of an idea, the top video among Decorating and Architecture magazine channels: “How to Get the Smoothest Drywall Finish in 6 Steps,” from Fine Homebuilding, with 1.2 million views.

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