Demi Lovato’s exclusive documentary for YouTube has been watched 3.5m times in the first three days after it launched. Update: a few hours on, it’s up to 3.8m.

The documentary, Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated, is a 78-minute long film about her current life, and is one of the first original-video music projects commissioned by YouTube to be made available for free supported by ads, rather than held behind its YouTube Red paywall.

Now, 3.5m views may not be making Lovato a new fortune in the scheme of things on YouTube, but it’s a pretty impressive total.

By comparison, a South Park gaming playthrough posted by PewDiePie the same day – despite recent controversies he’s still a big star on YouTube – has been watched 2.8m times, while a video posted that day by hugely-popular unboxing channel Ryan Toys Review has been watched 1.8m times so far.

YouTube video

To see a long-form music documentary beating the numbers posted by those kinds of creators is genuinely encouraging, although caveats include the lack of public stats for how long viewers watched for, and what that meant for the advertising revenues of the film.

Also, the costs of making that kind of documentary compared to a games or unboxing video are naturally higher, and remember that PewDiePie and Ryan Toys Review are posting every day.

Still, the performance of the Demi Lovato doc will be a good pointer to whether YouTube decides to commission more from a film-genre that Apple Music is also very active in.

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