Videos from Youtube struggle to get hits. Many creators are placing great work on Youtube, in the hope that their work will be noticed. These videos are struggling to get seen; yet the same content on Wikipedia is getting thousands to hundreds of thousands of video views.
A few caveats: Wikipedia statisitics don’t tell us much about the interaction of users with video, such as the length of a ‘view’; and they probably include people whose attempt to watch a video did not work, because Wikipedia’s purist open standards “Web Matroska” videos don’t play on iPhones and iPads.
Nevertheless, here are some of the statistics for the first brave adventurers who were kind enough to take the plunge and release their videos under a Creative Commons licence, so they could be added to Wikipedia. These are total views; currently Latin videos are being seen around 300,000 times a month on Wikipedia, and over 10,000 times a month on Vicipaedia.
Video (Wikipedia page) Wikipedia Views YT views Cicero Speech against Catalina (Cicero) 335,641 11,574 Catullus 16 (Poetry of Catullus) 218,858 1463 Carthago (Ancient Carthage) 192,173 1300 Limes (Limes, Hadrian’s Wall) 171,889 2100 Urbs Hierosolyma (Jerusalem) 145,510 2700 Persepolis (Persepolis) 104,096 2000 Carpe Diem (Carpe Diem) 96,247 2470 Catullus 2a and 2b (Poetry of Catullus) 90,601 124 Catullus 5 (Poetry of Catullus) 70,991 417 Catullus 13 (Poetry of Catullus) 54,356 440 Viae Romanae (Roman roads) 52,459 970 Catullus 101 (Catullus 101) 11,711 507 Ninfa (Garden of Ninfa) 11,595 560 Baden Baden (Pellicula Mensis, Martii 2022) 10,500 1100 Catullus 21 (Poetry of Catullus) 7826 142 Catullus 38 (Poetry of Catullus) 7784 176 Video views on Wikipedia versus Youtube
The lesson seems to be that if you want people to see your videos, then Wikipedia is a much better bet than Youtube, if it is the right topic. Videos of Roman roads, Cicero, Jerusalem and Catullus are getting a lot of views on Wikipedia, as they are on very popular pages, and are seen by a large, English speaking audience. That audience is clearly interested and curious to listen to the Latin they find.
Vicipaedia now also has a Pellicula Mensis, hosted on their front page, which is getting around 10,000 views a month. While other videos on other pages may get less views, they are of course reaching a Latin-using audience who can see and hear first hand from other people speaking Latin.
This raises two obvious questions: why then, are so few people contributing video to Wikipedia; and what do people need to do to get more, very popular Latin language content onto Wikipedia?
On the first, people do not think about Wikipedia for video; or at least have not. I think this will change over time. However there is a different mindset required for Wikipedia; care and attention is needed to ensure you do not violate copyright, are truthful and accurate, and so on.
- Use of Unsplash images or royalty free music is not compatible with Wikipedia’s fully open CC-By-SA licence; you can’t just use what you find on Google image search. Try WordPress Openverse search instead
- Material needs to be factual, accurate and generally about something
- Think about what people want to learn about on Wikipedia
There are also, to be frank, issues of technical barriers that get in the way. Open Latin project will help with this, if you would like.
Wherever the videos, and whether they are watched by people who are interested or skilled in Latin, Wikipedia offers a stronger and more persistent audience than Youtube for most creators, as relevant videos can stay in prominent locations for a long time.
Most of us will find it takes years of effort to get tens of thousands of Youtube views, with a small number of Yotube stars dominating what Youtube shows their audience; the model is based on familiarity with personality of presenters and the channel rather than content as such. Content is valued if it appears exciting (“engaging”), rather than if it is useful or informative per se.
However, the first person to record a video and place it on Wikipedia of any of the following is pretty much guaranteed a mass audience, as the reverse is true of Wikipedia; the topic is everything:
Wikipedia page Video reading Page views per month Julius Caesar Gallic war 200,000 Cicero Speeches 90,000 Aeneid Exerpt 40,000 Erasmus Stultitiae Laus 10,000 Isaac Newton Principia 220,000 Thomas More Utopia 70,000 Potential video audience on Wikipedia
You get the idea. There are many very famous Latin texts that are well known, culturally important, and will be listened to by audiences on Wikipedia and Wicipaedia. Many already exist on Youtube, and could easily be relicenced by their authors and added. If you are a creator, why not give it a go?