Here in the UK we take pride in our national successes. Whether it’s a gold medal at the Olympics, winning the Ashes, or England qualifying for the World Cup Finals, we generally feel a frisson of pride or a warm glow of contentment.
So I was surprised that more fuss wasn’t made last week when a short home movie by a British family elbowed its US rivals out of the way to become the most watched video clip on Youtube.
“Charlie Bit My Finger” has become the ultimate viral video with more than 133 million views and rising.
The home movie clip, which is just under a minute long, features a three year old boy whose finger is bitten by his baby brother.
The video’s popularity has spawned a huge number of spoofs and imitators on YouTube and other video sharing sites. There are fan websites, a Facebook page with more than 16 thousand fans, blogs, a calendar and of course t shirts.
The video has even entered the mainstream of our consciousness; my children now say “Charlie that hurts” instead of “Ouch” when they suffer any minor pain.
The video’s success reflects the success of online video as a whole. YouTube’s popularity just seems to grow and grow with no sign of it stopping.
We watch more than one billion videos every day, while more than twenty hours of video is uploaded to the video sharing site every minute.
You can see why businesses are desperate to cash in on our love affair with online video. Just think of the marketing benefits to a business if it could replicate the success of “Charlie Bit My Finger”!
A report published a few days ago by the Online Publishers Association in the US, suggests that 46% of people who view an online video advert are prompted to take some action. 22% visited the related website, 26% searched for more information, 15% visited the company and 12% purchased that specific product.
YouTube and the World’s other video sharing sites are working hard to cash in (or “monetize” to use the jargon) on the vast libraries of online video content they’re amassing. One tactic is to sell advertising space around the video clips and even forcing viewers to watch adverts before they can watch the clip itself.
Not everyone’s keen on this “pre-roll” form of advertising and YouTube has now introduced a button which allows viewers to skip the advert. (Just imagine if you could skip the adverts on TV or radio)!
Online video is becoming a hot topic with the World’s professional blogging community. Many people make a half decent living by selling advertising space on their blog pages. However one blogger, Eric Berlin, commented this week that there are now so many blogs being written, that saturation point is being reached. “Does the next generation of blogging stars need to look to video blogging and technology such as skippable ads in order to scratch out a living”? he asks.
I wonder what Charlie makes of it all.

Graham Majin is Head of Video Marketing at Kent digital media agency and

Charlie Bit My Finger - Why Online Video Marketing means Businesses Can Learn From A Three Year Old