Most Popular Content and Global Outreach After Nine Years
After nine years, a 2018 YouTube Channel Update
Receiving 560,000 views of the film work of Harvey Richards in the 1960s and of Nina Serrano in the 1970s and 1980s from people in 132 countries has lifted Estuary Press from an idea to a global presence. It is not an earth shaking global presence in a world of seven billion people. It’s just more than I ever thought could happen. It lends new life to radical political and cultural content that languished in obscurity for decades. And it brought home to me the power of the internet for communication outside the mainstream media which has descended into the hell of controlled lies in the service of the rich. It illustrates the new digital world’s power. One clip, entitled “Ordinary Life in the USSR, 1961,” has become the flagship of my channel, receiving 65%, or almost 370,000, of the total views.
In 2009, at the time I created the channel and the Harvey Richard Media Archive web site, I had the simple idea of using YouTube’s miraculous new capacity to publish free videos in order to offer the public previews of Harvey Richards’ films. I cut out short excerpts from each of the 22 films, gave them titles and uploaded them to YouTube. Then it was simple to embed them on the Archive website so viewers could get an idea of what the films were about. I had finished 20 of the film clips when I decided, what the heck, I would put the Soviet Union films up there too. Besides “Ordinary Life”, there is a second clip from “A Visit to the Soviet Union, Part 2: Far from Moscow” entitled “Ordinary Life Far from Moscow, 1961” which presents footage of Sochi, Tashkent and Irkutsk. This second clip now has over 6000 views. They were an after-thought in 2009. After all, the Soviet Union had collapsed and we had endured years of western arrogance and gloating over it. Who could possibly be interested, I thought, in these old films of a disappeared dream?
“Ordinary Life in the USSR, 1961” takes off
As soon as the clip from “A Visit to the Soviet Union, Part 1: Women of Russia” went live, the views started to pour in. I visited the channel frequently, watching the numbers rise. As soon as numbers grew enough to qualify the channel for the analytics page, I saw that even though the main interest in this clip came from the US, people all over the world were also tuning in. Nothing could have surprised me more. And I am sure my father and step mother, Harvey and Alice Richards, would have been equally surprised. Comments about the clip began to roll in with old anti-communist vitriol running along side the more numerous comments by people who grew up in the USSR, or who’s parents had, expressing nostalgia, admiration, regrets, blame, and even gratitude. The clip gained viewers from other sources, such as those interested in “ordinary life”, a trending topic, wherever it popped up. “Ordinary Life in the USSR, 1961” took its place among a growing number of videos about the USSR that now play on YouTube.
Clips from other films about the civil rights movement, the peace movement, forestry and mining have followed along and continue to attract viewers from around the globe. Nina Serrano has created her own YouTube channel which now features not only her films, but also her on-going poetry, writings, radio and video work.
The future of digital video and the internet is bright and challenging us all to create communications networks that feature truth, peace, justice and a healthy planet. Estuary Press is glad to be a part of this rising new world.