Natalie Tran: Bigger than free TV

Earlier we published a guest post from YouTube.

In it, Karen Stocks offered some data that made my jaw drop once I started thinking about it

Natalie Tran, a 24 year old Sydney student, had more viewers on YouTube that week than Nine did for Top Gear.  

In data that isn’t usually released by YouTube, Stocks – Head of Display, Media Platforms & YouTube, Google Australia & New Zealand – offered some info on Australia’s most viewed video creators.

It was a response to our report on a session at Adtech where both NineMSN and Yahoo7’s content bosses were pessimistic that video content makers could reach a big enough audience to monetise their work.

And topping the list is Tran, whose YouTube channel is Community Channel.

In the second week of March, she had 876,106 views.

I knew she was popular, but compare that to Australian free TV, to understand just how popular.

If she’d been on free TV, she’d have been the 42nd biggest show of that week, based on OzTam’s data.

She had more viewers than Nine’s Customs (876,000), Sunday’s edition of ABC News (872,000), RPA (868,000), The Mentalist (863,000), RBT (856,000). And indeed Top Gear (818,000).

I could go on. And I will. Tran had more viewers than most of Nine’s prime time lineup – Send In The Dogs, Mike & Molly, This is Your Life, Australia’s Funniest Home Videos and of course Two And A Half Men and Shit My Dad Says.

She was also ahead of some key Seven programming – like How I Met Your Mother, Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives.

And more popular than Ten’s House, Biggest Loser challenge episode, The 7PM Project and Hawaii Five-O.

And indeed more popular than the ABC’s Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight. And SBS and pay TV don’t have a single show that’s more popular than Tran.

There are a few caveats to that data.

First, the OzTam data I refer to is metro only so doesn’t take into account regional audience.

And second, the YouTube data is for global views of Australian-made content. However, a Google spokesman tells me: “Given that these partners produce their videos primarily for an Australian audience the majority of their views comes from AU.”

And third, that’s Tran’s aggregated views across all of her content. However, she gets most of her views from her freshest stuff – her most recent piece (embedded above) has had 1.1m views in four days. If Google has been comparing this week, she’d probably have been competing with free TV’s top ten shows.

And nonetheless, it does point to a big trend.

A trend where a 24-year-old can challenge TV networks for audience. And win.

Tim Burrowes


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