In June, our offTheLeftEye YouTube channel passed a huge milestone—one million minutes watched in a single month. The rest of the summer showed that this was not a fluke.
In July the number of minutes watched and the number of views (that is, the number of times that people watched videos on the channel) both jumped 20 percent, to more than 1,287,000 minutes watched and 177,000 views. That same month we also had a record number of comments, shared videos, and new channel subscribers. In August, the number of minutes watched increased again, to nearly 1,326,000. Although the number of views dropped slightly, in August we once again had record numbers of likes, comments, and new subscribers.
This trend is a result of the phenomenal growth of Swedenborg and Life, our weekly webcast series. In each episode, host Curtis Childs tackles a different aspect of Swedenborg’s thought, bringing in featured live guests and using video clips, recorded interviews, science experiments, and more to illustrate each point. For example, the most-watched new episode of the summer, called “8 Strange Places in the Afterlife,” demonstrates principles of the spiritual world by describing some of the unusual sights Swedenborg saw there.
The growth of the show (and the channel overall) is a result of YouTube’s recommendation system. When someone watches a video on YouTube, the channel will automatically suggest similar videos for the viewer to watch, and the more popular a video is, the more likely YouTube is to suggest it to others. The number of people who have found the channel this way has increased more than tenfold since September 2014 and continues to accelerate.
We know from YouTube statistics that the show’s audience consists of people of all ages—distributed pretty evenly from age eighteen to sixty-four—and is also almost evenly divided between men and women. Geographically, the channel is most popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the Philippines, India, and South Africa, so we’re drawing viewers from all over the globe.