Oprah may be a media machine who recently helped Twitter go mainstream, but she runs a YouTube channel that suffers from a flesh-eating virus. At 55,000 subscribers, we’d expect to see her average video fetching at least 10-25,000 views.
But her last 20 videos average just 6,750 views each. If you remove the two most popular, the average is 3,690. That means fewer than 10% of her subscribers are watching her videos.
Her subscription base of 55K was primarily due to a surge when YouTube and her television show promoted the channel… and has grown only moderately since.
What explains Oprah’s grand success in television and publishing, but failure online? For starters, her audience may be moving online but the money isn’t. She likely makes more for a one-page ad in O magazine than she’s made on YouTube to date.
She’s also seemed to delegate her online-video strategy to some poor temp who studied communications undergrad, hoping to be the “next Oprah.” I’m not kidding- Sophomore year I switched majors from communications to psychology because three people said that’s why they chose the major.
We do love our Oprah. Her warm smile, her self-depricating humor, and her knack for tapping the American psyche. But instead of vlogging via her channel (maybe showing us who she is off set) and communicating with her audience, she’s dumping trailers on it… mostly commercials for the show.
But, sorry Oprah. I think the engaged online-video viewer was hoping for more. Until the monetization model works for you, we’ll just have to get used to “flesh eating virus” promos.