Thursday, June 12, 2008

Who are PUFFY fans? YouTube will tell us!

Preface: take this with the proverbial grain of salt. It's interesting, but by no means definitive. This is not a scientific survey; use for entertainment purposes only.

YouTube has begun providing some pretty detailed stats to video uploaders. They didn't used to have this; when you uploaded a video, you kinda just had to guess who was watching it based on the number of comments and the kind comments you were getting. Then they added the "linked sites" feature, so you could at least see how many people were linking to a video from an external site and how many clicks were coming from there. But now, they've got this "Insight" feature that shows a whole host of stats and demographics of people watching your videos. Some of these stats are based on IP address, so they should be pretty accurate. Some are based on what people say when they sign up for their account, so they're probably not accurate at all.

I am not a huge uploader, but I've put up a few Puffy videos to help illustrate some posts here, if nobody else has posted a video I wanted to use first. Pretty much all I upload are Puffy-related videos (ok, and some videos of the July 4th NYC fireworks a couple years ago, which have been watched by about four people). So all I need to do is look at my overall account stats to see who is watching my videos and get a snapshot of the current state of Puffy fandom. Read on to see what kind of people your fellow fans are.

I don't make it easy to find my videos. You can't just stumble across them. I only really want to embed them here, so I don't really care who finds them on YouTube itself. So the people who watch my videos are actively seeking them out, one way or another; they're the hardcore fans. Still, most of my videos have at least several thousand views, so the sample is not overly small.

This is what YouTube is telling me about Puffy fans:

First, overall my videos are around 10 times more popular in Japan than they are in the United States. No other country even really registers.

Overall gender split
Male: 64%
Female: 36%

Age range for both genders
0-18: 23%
18-25: 8%
25-35: 12%
35-45: 22%
45-55: 28%(!)
55-65: 7%

Interestingly, the age breakdown between male and female is pretty different. These numbers won't add up to 100 - YouTube divides them as percentage of the total. (So you need to add both male and female together to get 100.)

Age range for males
0-18: 11%
18-25: 4%
25-35: 6%
35-45: 17%
45-55: 21%
55-65: 5%

Age range for females
0-18: 13%
18-25: 4%
25-35: 5%
35-45: 6%
45-55: 7%
55-65: 1%

The largest percentage of males is age 45-55, while the largest percentage of females is under 18. That's not something I would have predicted. I can drill down by country too, and maybe not surprisingly most of the teenage girls are coming from the United States (where the "HiHi" cartoon was aimed at that demographic).

In fact, here's an interesting juxtaposition:

US gender split
Male: 60%
Female: 40%

Japan gender split
Male: 69%
Female: 31%

The percentage of teenage girls coming from Japan is only around 3%, while in the United States, it's 20%. Clearly, Puffy's overall audience in Japan is older than in the United States... though the age difference is concentrated on one gender (females). Additionally, they just have more female fans in the US than in Japan, where their main audience seems to be mostly men around the same age as (or slightly older than) Ami and Yumi themselves. They seem to just have an extra set of new female fans under 18 in the US that just doesn't exist in Japan. Of course, I don't know the overall internet gender split in Japan, so maybe there are just more guys on the internet there. (In the US, the split is right around 50/50.) And they still have way more fans overall at home than they do here.

I do think it's interesting that despite all the younger- and female-skewing marketing around the "HiHi" show, still a majority of their US fans seem to be older males. Hey, I'm in that male 35-45 bracket myself (on the lower end!).

I may as well mention again that people do lie on web site registrations, and maybe Americans lie more than Japanese. (I have no proof of that, it just fits the stereotype.) So either all or just one side of these numbers could be way off.

In terms of actual video views, there aren't a lot of surprises. They rank like this (these are just the videos I've posted, and YouTube only lists the top 10):

1. Asia no Junshin Live
2. Music Lover's Medley
3. Music Fighter 01/12/08
4. Destruction Pancake
5. Basket Case Live
6. Hey! Hey! Hey! 500th episode special
7. Nantettatte Idol
8. Beef
9. Circuit no Musume '08
10. Akai Buranko

You can probably predict that Basket Case is a little higher ranked in the US than in Japan (it's #4), and the Music Lover's Medley is about 10% higher in Japan than in the US (though still #2). Nantettatte Idol also ranks higher in Japan - it's #6. Of course, some of these rankings would probably be different if I didn't obfuscate the titles and I added better tags. I purposely don't do that, because you never know what's going to attract a DMCA takedown request these days. The age of clips also plays a role, with older clips accumulating views over time, although most views seem to come when a clip is first posted. I also pretty firmly believe that the thumbnail photo of the video makes a big difference - both of the top two videos in that list have nice, clear close-ups of Yumi singing. Unfortunately, YouTube only lets you choose between three thumbnail images, and sometimes it just doesn't pick any good ones.

Generally, though, it seems like the video views for the ones I've posted are pretty much what I'd have predicted - the older stuff is more popular in general, the more obscure stuff is more popular in Japan and the cover of an American song is more popular in the US.

So what can we learn from this? Well, I dunno. It's not like I'm posting this with an agenda, I just love statistics.

But I do think that it's possible their US record label might be a little surprised by the age and gender breakdowns, and I know I was surprised that male fans in Japan outnumber females by more than 2:1. So, you know, take that for whatever it's worth.

1 comment:

  1. The fact that Puffy has a lot of fans in the >45 age bracket might not be all that surprising. So much of their music references the best of Sixties and Seventies Pop: the British Invasion, girl groups, Brian Wilson, surf music, spy movie themes, folk- and country-rock, pop-soul, bossa nova... For older listeners, Puffy is very recognizable, while still being wonderfully fresh and original. For those of us who still believe in evolution, this is precisely where music should have ended up 30-40 years later.

    It's also undeniably true -- and you probably have a few years remaining before you really become aware of this, Jeff -- cute females don't get any less cute when you reach 45. (^-^)

    I love statistics, too. Keep 'em coming!