Tubular Develops Ratings System for Web Series

/ Jan 9, 2014


Online video still does not have a ratings system that is in any way comparable to television. And to be frank, it’s not going to happen anytime soon, as most companies within the industry are wary of providing TV-like viewership data, lest they be immediately compared to TV, and as a result, be discarded by those who view online video with a skeptical eye (brands, media reporters).

That said, it doesn’t mean there aren’t third-party data providers trying to solve this problem with “actionable data.” For instance, here’s Tubular Labs, a YouTube video analytics startup, which just launched a new product called Playlist that’s designed to provide clients with audience data on various types of video collections, from playlists to serialized web series. Using the company’s proprietary AudienceGraph technology, Playlist expands beyond the view to measure statistics like views per episode, number of comments, “engagements” (comments, likes) per view, and Facebook and Twitter shares per view — all in real time. From this, Tubular hopes to create a benchmark for the online video industry, which can be used to make brands more comfortable with the field, and yes, compare programming performance across screens.

Tubular says Playlist offers insights on three levels:

  • Topic Intelligence: Measuring how a certain genre or topic performs on YouTube, including against other genres. For example, per Tubular data, the top sports videos on YouTube in 2013 averaged 16 million views per video, with a 0.47% engagement/view rate, 310,000 tweets, and 1.7 million Facebook shares. Compare this to the top comedy videos on YouTube, which Tubular says averaged 41 million views per video, a 1.0% engagement/view rate, 860,000 tweets, and 5.7 million Facebook shares. A dummy could discern that comedy in general performs better on YouTube.
  • Brand Intelligence: Tubular offers data for the aforementioned metrics across different brands and video campaigns. Going back into its data well, Tubular says the partnership between Dodge and the “Anchorman” sequel, which consisted of 16 videos, generated 23 million views (1.4 million per video), 30,000 YouTube engagements (0.13% per view), and 93,000 Facebook shares. Brands don’t need to see how they stack up against other brands, Playlist is also able to provide data on different product lines for one brand. Here, the company cites its stats for two Toyota cars, the Prius and the Tundra. On YouTube, Prius content averaged less views per video, but higher engagement than Tundra content.
  • Web Series Intelligence: Same type of data, but this time focused on original, multi-episode programming that’s being distributed on YouTube.

Tubular gathers its viewership stats by monitoring 300 million videos on YouTube created by more than 100 million creators and fans.

Already in use by YouTube networks and creators like AwesomenessTV, Big Frame, Machinima, StyleHaul, Chester See, and Taryn Southern, Tubular also offers a variety of features to find, learn more about, and eventually grow a channel’s audience. Clients have access to information like audience composition, viewing preferences (not just topical, but even time of day), and interests. Active Tubular users in Q3 grew their YouTube subscriber base 88% faster than non-users (36% growth vs 19%) and grew monthly views 119% faster (33% growth vs. 15%), according to Tubular Labs CEO Rob Gabel.

Founded in 2012 by Rob Gabel and Allison Stern, Tubular has raised $3.1 million since then from the likes of FirstMark Capital, Lerer Ventures, Bedrocket Media Ventures, and a group of angel investors that includes Matt Coffin and Dean Gilbert.

This article has been updated to accurately reflect Tubular’s monitoring capabilities on YouTube.

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