Last week ABC got the interview of the month, and it has been making the most of it. It has milked Charlie Gibson’s grilling of Sarah Palin across five shows over two nights: “Nightline,” “Good Morning America”, “20/20” and two episodes of “World News.” By our unofficial count, ABC has shown parts of the chat to some 35 million people.
Last week, we noted that more people watched the interview on YouTube than ABCNews.com. This week, a new question: Did more people watch Gibson and Palin on the Web than they did on ABC’s TV broadcasts?
The answer is a definitive maybe. If the Web hasn’t won already, it probably will soon.
ABC is furiously taking down pirated clips of the Palin inteview from YouTube as fast as they go up. Still excerpts of the interview have soaked up 35.6 million views on YouTube since last week, according to Tubemogul, which noted that dozens of illegal clips are going up and coming down each hour.
There’s no apples-to-apples way to compare this to TV viewership, because Nielsen ratings are unduplicated viewers within shows but not between programs. Still, for argument’s sake, if one were to add up the number of viewers reached in each of ABC’s telecasts, the number would be around … 35 million.
Nielsen can’t resolve this in any definitive way, but it hardly matters: as time goes on, Gibson and Palin will continue to rack up views on the Web, both legally on ABCNews.com, and illegally on YouTube and elsewhere, despite ABC’s best effort to stop it. The question is who will profit from it?
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