PSY launched 13 April 2013 the highly awaited new production, after global Youtube mega hit ‘Gangnam Style’.
New Youtube video and song is ‘Gentleman M/V’.
As expected, number of views have exploded within the first hours after its launching. It broke the 20 million views just after 24h.
This is leading some to consider that PSY ‘has done it again’. IT is the Youtube blockbuster ‘Gangnam Style’. This was the first (and currently unique) single video to break the 1 billion views mark. By April 2013 it counts with more than 1.5 Billion views.
PSY team do also hope to repeat the smashing previous success (‘Psy hopes for another viral smash hit with Gangnam sequel’, CNN 13 April 2013).
In fact PSY team posted a comment in the official Youtube channel just one day after the release, by 14 April 2013. It was just a one word question:
Our answer is NO.
We estimate that PSY Gentleman M/V will not reach the 1 billion views score.
We come to this this conclusion after the analysis of the open metrics provided by Youtube.
Behind the already expected spectacular number of views, we identify an overall rather poor to negative appraisal to the video.
We have monitored the trend of the like/dislike ratio within the first 24 hours.
As many people familiar with Youtube dynamics know, and as we have explained in our previous post about another Youtube hit (‘How Animals Eat Their Food, read it), initial figures about views provided by Youtube are not reliable.
But data about like and dislike clicks are updated instantaneously. They provide valuable information about initial reaction by viewers. The initial like/dislike ratio score and the tone of comments may have a strong influence on future viewers.
Figure below shows the results concerning the trend of the like ratio during the first 24 hours.
It started around a healthy 91.9% positive rating. This score corresponds actually to the overall rating that the ‘Gangnam Style’ video has by mid-April 2013.
This could be seen as no bad news. Apparently.
Consider that initial viewers correspond mainly to fans loving PSY performance and waiting anxiously for the new song-dance-rhythm-video. Taking this into account, we could consider not as a strong warm welcome.
And bad news came very soon. Just within a 24 hours period, the average liking ratio has dropped to 87.6%.
This is still not an awful acceptance rate. It’s true.
But the one day overall decrease in favour reflects that new viewers added to initial PSY unconditional fans are rating the video in a less favorable way.
This is what is showed in the following figure.
We have added the values corresponding to the marginal liking ratio (red line). It corresponds to the like/dislike ratio provided exclusively by the new viewers during the last segment of time.
Our results show a vivid negative change of trend some 20 hours after the release of the video. Since then, the marginal liking ratio moves around 80%.
Having 20% of negative votes is really a poor score. Remember that ‘Gangnam Style’ has a negative score of 8%.
Of course, we still need to wait for additional data taken from the next days of people watching the video.
It is true that the present trend may change and come back into an upward more positive dynamics. But if we are asked to take a position, our forecast is that this new performance will not become a global mega hit to be remembered during the next months. Our forecast is that ‘Gentleman M/V’ will not reach 1 billion views. The initial 24h evidence should be enough to get this verdict.
Update (April 15 2013)
Gentleman video counts with more than 50 million views, well before its first 48 hours since release.
In the meantime, global ratings by viewers continue to deteriorate, in line with the underlying trend that we have shown above. Global positive rating moves from 87.6% (April 14) to 85.9% (April 15).
We present below updated date of the marginal negative rating.
It is currently reaching its worst valuation on record.
It can also be observed that the trend is not linear. According to the viewing hours, we have identified which is the geographical profile of people watching the video. We find that, in comparative values, viewers in Europe tend to show a more negative reaction than people in Asia. American viewers are somewhere in between.
Update 2 (April 17 2013)
Europe Vs America-Asia
Wow! PSY got more than 100 million views in less than four days. This is probably an all-time record in Youtube.
Now, the ‘1 Billion’ words are appearing here and there. This is fact for instance the core content of a new analysis published in Wall Street Journal (see it here).
We will come back later to viewing trends.
Now we want to present the updated data about the liking ratio, as it shows an astounding regularity.
Black line is the like/dislike ratio at any single moment. This is the number that everyone can find directly in Youtube. It shows the continuing deterioration of the overall liking ratio (from initial 91.4% to current 84.3% that we predicted using the data from the initial 26 hours.
Red line is the like/dislike ratio only within the current period of viewing and rating. This is a less obvious measure. It helps, as we have proven here, to forecast future trends of the global liking ratio.
We present the expanded results including 16 and 17 April observations because it shows a very rare undulation effect. The successive wages are completely systematic. Ups and downs follow a completely regular time-trend. It increases from 4pm Central European Time, it decreases from 8am Central European Time.
There is a consistent geographical oriented difference in tastes concerning ‘Gentleman’. There is a clear cultural cleavage concerning the reaction to PSY new product. Liking rating in Europe move around 78-80%, while in America-Asia it gets a 83-85% rate.
The cultural difference in tastes may come from
a) The music
b) The aesthetics of the video
c) Difference degree of tolerance concerning the pranks by PSY towards women, that may be considered more in Europe than elsewhere as humiliating and showing sexism.
I think that the third explanation is the more relevant one.
Happy to know readers’ views about the explanation of causes of this cultural cleavage.
A viral video? No. Massive Tsunami Dynamics
Now is April 20 2013. Just one week after ‘Gentleman’ release.
The video counts right now with 180 million views. Probably a world record.
This should be considered as the epitome of a viral video. I really do not consider this as being a viral video.
Virality in social media is tipically linked to discovery, surprise, extreme reactions, wether positive or negative. Diffusion pattern, is viral, implies a very fast dissemination of the video in the social media. This means that the viewing experience an exponential increase of viewing hour after hour. Exponential growth drives necessarily to a peak. Once reached, number of viewings per hours experience a similarly dramatic downturn. In viral context, total number of views that a video will obtain is mainly determined by the height reached by the peak day.
One characteristic present in all viral cases is that the video provokes extreme feelings: either everybody loves it, or everybody hate/blame it. This is the necessary energy for fuelling the video views, through an intense rate of social media recommendations.
Stop KONY 2012 was viral. Other examples
How Animals Eat Their Food (this is our previous post).
Views of video ‘Guy Throwing My Computer Monitor’ (Our FedEx reputation crisis analysis here).
Mice in a French fast food company, Quick France (reputation crisis analysis here)
Advert by Campofrío (in Spanish, here)
To our understanding, this is not the case this time with ‘Gentleman’.
This time it could not be a discovery, as this was the new music video after everyone-knows hit ‘Gangnam Style’. Millions of people loving Gangnam were waiting expectant. This vast number of people knowing about and ready to watch as soon as they learned that the new video was released prevented the viewing to follow an initial reaction of ever increasing number of vieweing.
The second element missing in this case to make it following a viral trend was that the overall reaction was not warm. It went quickly below the 90% liking ratio. Many argue that this metric is not a relevant predictor of viewings (see for instance a very interesting and well data supported comment to this post).
It is true that in general liking ratio is no a good predictor for total views. But it is a good predictor for viral dynamics. (‘How Animals Eat Their Food’, has a 98% positive ratio and its viral). Just having a 85-90% of positive ratings corresponds to mixed feelings. But the negative ratio is no big enough to become a highly controversial video (another channel for viral videos). And positive ratio is not strong enough to create a passionate social media recommendation.
Puting all pieces together, we expected to observe massive number of viewings during the first days. This video behaves like massive tsunami dynamics. When the wages strikes (release), it already provokes severe damages (views) from the very beginning (peak number of views from the release), and the force of the wages are mantained for a while (number of views decrease slowly day after day). If social media dissemination follows a massive tsunami path, total number of viewers is fixed by the height of the initial wage.
Massive tsunami corresponds typically to sequels. This happens with movies. With ‘Gentleman’ we had a sequel of a Youtube blockbuster.
Now, we present numbers.
Next figure present total views between 13 and 20 April. It seems like a linear increase.
Detail is provided by day to day views.
Initial upward trend is not real. April 13 data corresponds just to 4 hours-time after launching, as it was presented in the evening (European time). 13 and 14 April data, which corresponds to 28 hours of viewing, reach the peak of viewings.
Additional info corresponds to the evolution of comments per hour. This value is more exact than total views at the initial stages in Youtube.
It shows the ever continuing decrease of numbers from maximum values from the very beginning, at release.
The ups and downs correspond to geographic influence. It increase during European working hours; it decreases when mainly viewed in America and Asia.
Our forecast: a maximum of 700 million views
For us, ‘Gentleman’ is not viral. It starts with the maximum value, and from that point, it decreases slowly (in comparison to viral processes).
This is good news for ‘Gentleman’ in the short run. As views erodes slowly, total number of views increase strongly day by day. This is how it has more than 180 million views in just a week.
‘Gangnam Style’ had at that time just 2 million views.
Comparing both figures and the growth rates, many are tempted to predict another more than one billion views video. Jeff Yang (WSJ) even estimated total number of views if ‘Gentleman’ followed ‘Gangnam Style’ dynamics from now on. It could eventually reach 12 billion views. It could, IF it was a viral video, as Gangnan was.
Gangnam was a matter of discovery in the different regions of the world, little by little, like viruses. This allowed Gangnam to experience sudden increases of the growth rate well after its release.
It won’t happen again with Gentleman, as everybody knows about PSY.
Current decrease of viewings day after day, even if it goes smoothly, won’t be stopped. Like the tsunami. Like sequels.
With the one week data, we have estimated the trend we expect to observe in the future.
The figure below presents stylized trends for next year and a half. We consider three scenarios.
The blue line corresponds to the application of current dreceasing values. Gentleman would reach 400 million views. If we consider an optimistic scenario where current depreciation ratio is slowed soon, total views could reach 700 million views. An average scenario leads to 500 million views.
With all the data and analysis in hand, we come again to the initial prediction we posed in this post one day after the release of the video: we do not expect ‘Gentleman’ to reach the 1 Billion mark.
Data by the end of April will tell us a lot. If the video gest more than 300 million views at that time, we will be moving around our optimistic scenario. If Gentleman beat by far the 3000 million mark, it will probably break my estimations.
Media reaction, analysis.
- Will Psy’s New ‘Gentleman’ Be Another ‘Gangnam Style’?, Jeff Yang, Wall Street Journal, April 13 2013.
- Psy Is No ‘Gentleman’ In New Music Video, Todd Gilchrist, MTV, April 13 2013
- Psy Releases New Single – Does It Live Up to ‘Gangnam Style?’,Kristen Mascia, People, April 14 2013
- Psy también triunfa con su nuevo videoclip en Youtube, El Mundo, April 13 2013
- Why ‘Gentleman’ Could Be Psy’s Next Video to Break a Billion Views, Jeff Yang, Wall Street Journal, April 16 2013.