It’s easy for news outlets to forget about Youtube.Short-form video rival Tiktok commands more headlines and is more frequently associated with highly sought-after young audiences.Alphabet-owned Youtube, meanwhile, is so commonplace it is effectively web infrastructure.But ubiquity might be a good reason to pay the streaming site more attention. Youtube remains by far the bigger of the two video social networks: Statista puts it at 2.5bn users as of January – more than double Tiktok, at 1bn.
So amid all the industry attention on how Tiktokers can be induced to watch news, including in Press Gazette, we took a look at which news publishers are doing best on Youtube.
Press Gazette identified 39 news outlets publishing predominantly in the English language with over one million subscribers. If we have missed any others, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
American and internationally-focused broadcasters dominate the group. The five biggest news publishers on Youtube by subscribers were:
- CNN (14 million followers)
- The US ABC News (13.2 million)
- Vox (10.7 million)
- BBC News (12.5 million)
- Fox News (9.6 million)
On Youtube, subscribers aren’t everything
High subscriber counts don’t correlate linearly to high view counts on Youtube, however.
Although CNN comes first on both metrics, the BBC, with the third highest number of subscribers, has 3.7 billion views – the sixth highest. The size of that discrepancy is visible below.
The BBC in fact has the second lowest number of views per subscriber – 297.7 – of any publisher on the list, above only Buzzfeed-owned Complex, with 80.8. (Buzzfeed News did not itself make it onto our list as it has 808,000 subscribers, under the one million threshold.)
MSNBC scores the highest number of views per subscriber, netting 1,591.8 for each person following the channel. Next are Fox News (1,211), ITN‘s On Demand News (1,183.3) and Good Morning Britain (875).
Vox, despite having the third lowest number of views per subscriber (272.4), has by far the highest number of views per video, hitting an average of approximately 2.1 million.
The US broadcasters do less well on views per video. On this metric, Vox is followed by a pack of publishers with low views per subscriber: The Economist (94.4 views per sub), Vice News (334.1), the BBC (297.7) and Australian ABC’s “In-depth” channel (429.1), which brings together its longform journalism. (The general channel for Australia’s national broadcaster does less well, with just under 10,000 views per video.)
The Sun and The Guardian also appear high up the list for average views per video, beating out (American) ABC News, MSNBC and Fox.
The most-viewed news video on Youtube
Press Gazette also took a look at each publisher’s most-viewed video, and in many cases the answer gives a flavour for the kinds of content that outlet is pursuing on Youtube.
The most-viewed at Vice is its famous inside look at the Islamic State. Right-leaning Sky News Australia’s is an investigation into “what really happened” at a virology lab in Wuhan, China. ITV News‘ is a debunk, The Sun’s is a piece of viral content and the Mail’s is the kind of celebrity voyeurism beloved by departed Mail Online editor Martin Clarke.
The most watched Youtube video from any of the news publishers is Euronews’ 2016 blockbuster “Chimp escape: Primate swings from live power lines, falls from electricity pole”.
Update: This article and the charts it features were expanded on Thursday 30 June, the day after publication, to add in Vox, The Economist and The Young Turks, which had previously been missed.