Report: YouTube Preparing HotSpots Tool

    September 9, 2008

Suppose that, whenever a certain television character entered a bar, viewers changed the channel instead of happily shouting "Norm!"  NBC would have wanted to know, and now YouTube’s content creators may gain a similar sort of insight into what users do while watching their clips.

Don’t get too excited; it seems that Google’s not ready to share solid numbers.  However, Abbey Klaassen reports that a tool called HotSpots will at least try to put viewership levels into an understandable frame of reference.

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"HotSpots plays a video alongside a graph that maps whether the audience is lower or higher than average for a particular length of video," she writes.  "When the graph goes up, the video is ‘hot,’ and more viewers are watching – because there’s either less attrition or some viewers are fast-forwarding or rewinding to isolate a particular point in the video.  When the graph goes down, the video is ‘cold’ because viewers are leaving the video or skipping to another part of the content."

We suspect that the folks who will bother to use this tool already understand the basics of making a good clip, so HotSpots should help them fine-tune things for the better.  Viewers might expect improved lighting or snappier dialogue, in other words, instead of someone trying to hold their attention with explosions every five seconds.

According to Klaassen, YouTube’s user base can look forward to HotSpots launching sometime later this week.