The YouTube Nielsens

When I discovered that CBS had put out an embeddable clip of the exchange they used for the teaser advertising yesterday’s installment of the Couric-Palin comedy hour (effectively pre-empting their own broadcast), I wrote this in an email:

I actually wonder if they haven’t gotten as much traffic as they expected.

AFAIK, they treated today’s clip differently than they did the last ones–they made the clip available for embed at the same time as they released the teaser of that clip (which is the one I put up on a post).

In other words, I suspect that they didn’t get the traffic they wanted, because people were watching the fun bits on YouTube the next day. So they pre-empted those YouTubes and have the embed up with two ads.

I guess the proper word is "viewership"–meaning I suspected that CBS’s ratings for their Couric-Palin interviews weren’t all that great.

Turns out I was right.

Katie Couric’s newsmaking interviews with the Republican vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, last week had only a slight impact on the ratings for her CBS newscast. But if the network could have added up all the other viewers the interviews (and its spoof) racked up, on places like CNN, YouTube and “Saturday Night Live,” Ms. Couric would surely have been more seen and talked about than in any week since she began her tenure as anchor.

Ms. Couric received a rush of attention for the two interviews, in which Ms. Palin, governor of Alaska, spoke haltingly on, among other topics, her state’s “narrow maritime border” with Russia. Clips turned up across the spectrum of television and Web sites.

The first interview last Wednesday, for example, has been viewed more than 1.4 million times on YouTube, while the parody of the interview on “SNL” was streamed more than 4 million times on, viewed in full more than 600,000 times on YouTube and in shorter clips many more hundreds of thousands of times.

Still, the “CBS Evening News” gained only about 10 percent in audience from the previous week — and it was actually down from the same week the year before. The newscast averaged just under 6 million viewers for the week, up from 5.44 million the previous week. A year ago Ms. Couric’s program drew about 6.2 million viewers. (CBS was also a distant third last week behind ABC, which won with 8.07 million viewers, and NBC, with 7.98 million.)

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Did McCain Blow Off Letterman to Pre-Empt Sarah and Katie?

Help me with the timing on this.

Sometime–either earlier today or earlier this week–Sarah Palin sat down and taped an interview with Katie Couric. The first part of that interview airs this evening.

Then instead of showing up for a scheduled interview with David Letterman, and at a time when he said he had to run back to DC for emergency work to save the American economy, McCain did an interview with Katie Couric. In other words, after the McPalin campaign assessed how the Palin-Couric interview went, they put together a last minute interview between McCain and Couric.

As of this moment, CBS News has, as its lead story, McCain’s debate cancellation stunt. Not Sarah Palin’s second interview with a straight reporter. McCain has effectively pre-empted the interview with his running-mate. 

I get the feeling that Palin-Couric interview went even worse than the Charlie Gibson one.

And perhaps not coincidentally, McCain is now trying to postpone the VP debate.