Independent Films by the Numbers

The marketing of Independent Films

Pattern of Run Times for YouTube Videos

Given that there are better movie lengths for festival films, I have begun to wonder if the same is true for YouTube videos.  I am not the biggest fan of YouTube, but given its importance as a grassroots distribution channel I thought I should get over my personal biases and take a deeper dive into what makes it tick.

My initial study has involved capturing data on 2,600 video submitted yesterday.  I drew the sample from YouTube’s top 13 channels (minus Movies and Music, which seem to play by different rules) for a collection of 200 videos for each channel.  Those 200 hundred videos were split evenly into two segments: popular videos for that day and a control group of randomly selected videos.

I am still early in my analysis, but it is clear that these two samples are distinctly different.   Randomly selected videos tend to skew shorter with the largest mode occurring with videos less than one minute long and all others being 10 minutes or less in length.  If you look at the distribution of this random control segment it is a classic inverse power drop off with the count of videos dropping as the lengths go up.  The Popular/Most Viewed segment has a very different form.  There is a mode at less than one minute, but it is much less pronounced than the control segment.  There is a second mode for the popular segment at 10 minutes with a tail of lengths extending out past 10 minutes.

It seems that popular videos tend to be longer than the average video, which is a pattern not unlike what I observed for short films in festivals.  Despite not be normal in distribution, the averages run times are interesting with the control group having an average run time at 2 minutes 37 seconds, while the popular segment has an average run time at 4 minutes 52 seconds (almost twice the length) .

Runtimes for a sample of 2,600 YouTube Videos

Runtimes for a sample of 2,600 YouTube Videos

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