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Britain’s Got Talent Lets ITV.com Dream A Dream

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Update: An ITV (LSE: ITV) spokesperson told paidContent:UK: “We understand people will go to YouTube, but it starts with the TV content. Without the TV content, they wouldn’t have anything to put up there. Social networks have a role to play in driving that content – but it drives people back to TV and to ITV.com – it’s pushing people back to find more professional content online. Our video views for Britain’s Got Talent are up over 200 percent from last year.”

Original: Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse for ITV’s website, which is laying off a third of its content team, along comes Britain’s Got Talent to give it a boost. One of the show’s contestants, in particular – “unlikely” would-be pop star Susan Boyle – is helping the show’s site bring a big international traffic boost to what, after selling Friends Reunited and closing ITV Local, will be the broadcaster’s main online destination.

Guardian.co.uk on Thursday: “(The show’s site) had attracted 500,000 page impressions between midnight and around 10am today, with visitors up by 147 percent year on year and video views jumping a huge 500 percent).”

Britain’s Got Talent, which can veer dangerously toward its X-Factor sibling in focusing on vulnerable contestants, is ideally suited to online video, since each talent contestant gets only a few short minutes to impress the judges – an ideal length for viral sharing.

We’d like to credit ITV bosses with having devised the show as a 360-degree commission in this way, and this is exactly what ITV.com should be doing – but the majority of views for Boyle’s performance (11 million, Guardian.co.uk estimates) have come from unofficial YouTube videos and not from ITV.com, which encourages social network sharing but does not allow videos to be embedded off-site. Most of the ads ITV wires in to its own clips are, therefore, lost to the broadcaster.