YouTube Divulges Data on Most-Watched Solar Eclipse


This week’s total solar eclipse was a once-in-a-lifetime event for many people. While solar eclipses might occur somewhere on Earth fairly regularly, the odds of seeing an eclipse at any particular location in one’s lifetime are low. For many North Americans, the eclipse was one of the biggest events of the year – and possibly of their lives. It wasn’t just a matter of personal significance, however. The effects of the eclipse were felt by many industries, most notably hospitality but also including streaming video. Streams of the eclipse went live across the web Monday morning, drawing viewers away from other streaming sites. So much, in fact, that Netflix saw a 10% drop in streaming viewers during the eclipse, causing the streaming giant to lash out at the Moon on Twitter.

Not all streaming video sites fared poorly during the eclipse, though. YouTube, for one, was a big winner during the event. According to the YouTube Trends blog, this week’s solar eclipse was one of the most-watched livestreamed events on YouTube, bringing in more than 2 million viewers simultaneously across the many livestreams set up by educational institutions, news organizations, and a variety of other channels.

Since the solar eclipse occurred on Monday August 21, YouTube viewers have watched videos of or about the eclipse over 100 million times totalling over six million hours of video. Instructional videos about how to safely view the eclipse or construct pinhole projectors were some of the most popular viewed videos before and during the eclipse, while searches related to symptoms of eclipse-related eye damage peaked after the eclipse.

Music videos hosted on YouTube also enjoyed a huge spike in views Monday. Bonnie Tyler’s iconic 1983 hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart” was viewed over 1.6 million times on Monday, with view rates peaking around 260,000 per hour. Other eclipse-related videos which saw a bump during the eclipse included Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising,” Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking On Sunshine,” Owl City’s “Galaxies,” and Smash Mouth’s “Walkin’ on the Sun.” Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album surprisingly didn’t make the top five.