I’ve made thousands of videos of reportage, and yet each time one is released, it can’t quite be predicted how it will fare out in the unforgiving world of YouTube, where cats on skateboards, make-up tutorials and reactions to Lady Gaga videos score millions of hits, but reportage can just disappear into the ether…
As a benchmark for reportage on YouTube, 10,000 views is a decent one. Look at this, a typical BBC propaganda piece from Crimea, 3 years ago, and for a pretty big revelation, 26 thousand views.
This report of mine, from Denmark, June 2016, about what people there think of Brexit, if they wanted a ‘Dexit’, and the Denmark-EU border, is soon to pass 100,000 views:
What’s the story behind it? I was travelling around Europe doing reportage on a Brexit theme, and had just come from Latvia –
The trip hadn’t exactly gone to plan, with my car smashed into in France, so driving thousands of miles around Europe with a taped over window, not exactly conducive to an unfrayed state of mind, but anyway, the show really did have to go on. Stopping briefly to make the montage, from Latvia it was a 1600km drive, to Denmark, and to the town of Sonderberg, where this was filmed – the first sizeable town near the Danish border, population around 28,000.
What happened next? I made the edit swiftly after filming, and released. And then, nothing much at all. After a few days, it sat at 1000 views, making it hard to think it hadn’t been a lot of effort for nothing much at all. But then, out of nowhere – without it ever featuring in media as far as I know, it began to climb and climb.
Why the popularity? Firstly, the excellent level of English has clearly enthralled many, if you look at comments. Otherwise, the general geniality, openness of the Danish people. There also isn’t that much competition, as in there’s not much reportage from Denmark, which may have implied a lack of audience for it, but here, clearly not the case.
It was also on theme at that time, with everyone wondering what would come next, after Brexit, which has continued to be a talking point. As you can see from this video, while there was some sympathy from the Danish streets, there was no real sign of a movement there mounting for the next Brexit. Although, another point, the presence of a border did catch attention.
As it prepares to pass 100,000, it joins only a few of my reportages to make that milestone. Of course I’m pleased with that achievement, very grateful to all who have viewed, liked, left comments. Of course, when I look at it now, a year and a half on, I think ‘gosh if I did it again, would do this better, that better‘, I’ve got a year-and-a-half more experience of video editing to call on. Or, I may just do it completely unedited, But, generally, I’m fairly pleased with the piece.
I’d imagined it may get around 10,000 views, so to say it’s overperformed is an understatement. YouTube may be random in a lot of ways, but clearly this report has caught the imagination, and made its contribution to delivering information, just as it was, to a wide audience. Due to monetisation, I’ve earned $35.33 from this video, however due to a simple bit of lunch for myself and colleague Michael Spekkers, who helped me film this, coming to around 30 Euros, you could hardly say I’m raking in the financial rewards 🙂 But of course, none of what I do is for that anyway.
It certainly gives some appetite to return to do more in Denmark, perhaps more ambitious reportage even, knowing there’s an audience for it. Although perhaps if you’re reading this the word is already out and other news crews will be headed to Aarhus, Odense, Aalborg and more, for a slice of the hot Danish pie!
I’d like to say thanks to all the kind, friendly people of Denmark who gave interviews for this, and a gentleman called Viktor from Denmark, who for many years has been a supporter of my work from Donbass, and more!