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20 million and counting

Posted by: Ryan Hawk, Communications

When Google purchased YouTube in the Fall of 2006, it seemed like maybe the little video sharing website might be worth taking a look at, so two days after the announcement, I uploaded Grizzly Bears destroy camp to test the waters. And then a day later, Jaguar Swimming.  Resolution was limited to 240 or 320 pixels wide, so what you see today is like a look into the low-quality past that was YouTube in 2006. But people started to watch the videos, and it was exciting to think that 50 -- then 100 people had seen the little films.

Today, the videos are seen around the world thousands of times a day. 65% of the audience for the videos are from outside of the USA.

Then in January, something amazing happened. Cute Baby Tiger, which featured a few seconds of a sleepy tiger cub falling asleep was posted, and instead of tens of views, we saw hundreds -- then sometimes thousands of views a day.

What started as an experiment for the zoo, using my junkmail email account name Dahalcon, now had legs. And the people clearly wanted more baby tigers! So we gave it to them with CUTEST baby tigerFunny Baby Tiger!!! and Cute Baby Tiger explores the world outside among others. A google search for 'cute baby' from any computer at the time brought up the striped cub as the third search result. It was encouraging.

A Tapir baby playing behind the scenes and a just born Brand new Cute Baby Gorilla! followed.

But there are more stories to be told at Woodland Park Zoo than those of the newborns alone. One of the things I really wanted to do was talk about the conservation work the zoo does both in the Northwest, and around the world. From our Tree Kangaroo program in Papua New Guinea to Cute Baby Turtles Released in Wild just outside of Seattle.

But getting those sometimes difficult to access stories told in a way that pulls people in can be a challenge. So things got a little more fun, when Frogs Gone WILD! was posted.

And I'm not sure what this video was about. But it was fun, and it showed the zoo's animals doing amazing things.

Finding soundtracks for videos can be the most challenging part of putting a video together for the web. So occasionally when your boss is leaving to catch his bus for the day, and he's singing along to the song you're composing on your computer, you just record it. And five minutes later, you end up with the amazingly-keyworded Funny Penguin Baby Happy Feet Get Wet video and its melodic soundtrack.

Sometimes the videos take on the serious issues facing wildlife around the world.

And sometimes, it's just nice to see a familiar face saying nice things about our great zoo.

And so it is that we've reached the fantastic milestone of 20 million views. Each time you view a video and pass it on to a friend, we're able to further share these amazing animals, their stories, and the inspiring things being done to protect and save them. THANK YOU!

All videos by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.


Anonymous said…
20 million views can't be wrong. You're definitely on to something very good. Nice work, Ryan.