BICW-NY YouTube channel analysis and suggestions




Introduction to the visualization

Data visualization is the study of visual representations of data. Usually, from the results, people can dig out some novice information, summarize some engaging points and help their product to be polished based on these findings.


mission and goals

This report focusing on analyzing the data from BICW-NY YouTube channel) to dig out the audience information, know the audience’s feedback and interests, which can help to improve the YouTube channel’s content and broadcast way.


BICW (Bodhi Institute of Compassion and Wisdom) is a non-government organization, which focus on spreading the Buddhism culture to the world (recently, the name BICW has been changed into BSA, Buddhism studying association). BICW-NY is the New York branch of BICW, and they have their own YouTube channel to broadcast or live Buddhism courses.


For improving BICW Youtube channel, this report covers the following topics: analysis which videos are more popular, know the audience location and distribution, analysis the audience basic information. A user research also is achieved for completing the target.





– Tableau

Tableau Public has multiple strengths such as interactive graphics, no programming, completely free. As a free service product, Tableau Public allows you to create and share data visualizations on web pages. Thousands of people use Tableau Public to share data on web pages, blogs, or social media like Facebook and Twitter. Without any programming, Tableau Public allows people to effectively understand the data.





  1. Content popularity

Fig 1 BICW-NY Video Records between 2012 to 2018


From 2012 to nowadays, BICW-NY has 746,339 sum views of all its videos. Prayer of Auspiciousness, Diamond Sutra, the ritual of taking rebirth, The Divine Mantra of Avalokitesvara and Jaya Mangala Gatha are the top five view videos. The top one Prayer of Auspiciousness has been played for 92,313 times, which is much higher than the second video that has 42,954 views. For the top 5 videos receiving likes: the ritual of taking rebirth, Prayer of Auspiciousness, The Divine Mantra of Avalokitesvara, Jaya Mangala Gatha and the Dharani of wish-fulfilling jewel king. These results are slightly different with the rank of video views. Also, the videos share records and comments records were also attached. The BICW-NY live received much more comments than other videos. The color is chosen differently and the amount difference of the video records can be read by the color layers.



  1. subscribes’ location distributionsFig 2 Subscribers records

The subscribers’ average watching time and views record was imported into Tableau. From this image, we can see that the subscribes of BICW-NY are mainly from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, United States and Canada. Subscribes in Taiwan have the longest average watch time and most view counts. Comparing Malaysia and United States, viewers in Malaysia click more video, while United states watch videos longer. The results obeyed with our expectation that the viewers are mainly distributed in the area where BICW have more influence. Also, because most of the videos are in Chinese, the viewers are mainly from East Asian countries. However, China has blocked YouTube, that is the reason why there is no view record from China.


  1. viewers’ gender and age

Fig 3 Gender and Age

This image shows the viewers’ gender and age distribution. For all the videos on BICW-NY YouTube channel, there are more female viewers than male viewers. This is also parallel with the Buddha’s prediction that after he passed away 2500 years later, the era called Dharma Ending Times, when there would be fewer people studying Buddhism and female Buddhists are more than male Buddhists. The 35-44 age group is the largest part of the viewers.  25-34 age group is slightly small than the 35-44 age group, but these two age groups spent same average time, 13.7 min, on watching the YouTube videos. The viewers’ gender and age were used in the different color for easy to be reviewed.


  1. Viewers’ comments and share records

Fig 4 Comments and Share


The share records are not only based on YouTube website but also counted the external links. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and the United States are four area where viewers shared the video with others. For the comments, the viewers in the United States left more comments than other countries or areas. This mainly because the BICW-NY usually broadcasted some great Guru’s presentation and teaching online when they came to the USA, and people in the United States could watch the live in time and left more comments during the live. However, viewers in other regions, especially in Asian, met more difficulties to watch the live online because of the time differences.


  1. The view record of April 2018

Fig 5 The view records of 2018.4

This image displays the view record of April 2018 in different countries and areas. There are hundreds of clicks per day for watching the videos of BICW-NY YouTube channel. Most viewers are from Taiwan, United States, Malaysia, and Singapore.


User research


For enhance the BICW-NY YouTube’s impact and improve its content, a user research was processed, which recruited 3 BICW members for phone interviews. During the interview, the visualization results were shown to them. The interview is semi-structured, which covered the main questions as following:


  1. Before they see the visualization results, they would be asked about what topic of videos they usually look.
  2. Talk about BICW-NY YouTube channel’s one strength and one weakness.
  3. Talk about the advice for improving BICW-NY channel

Show the visualizations results to them and let them answer the following questions:

  1. Do you have any thoughts that the results are different from your expectation? Why?
  2. Based on the results, will you change your original advice?
  3. Any new pieces of advice?


3 BSA members were recruited for the interview one by one. 2 of them are the twenties, and 1 is thirties. They all subscribed BICW-NY YouTube channel. The average time of the interview is about 15 minutes. Except answering the interview questions, they also mentioned the related ideas.


Three of them mentioned that the importance of the BICW courses, which they often used for practicing and learning. Such as the video records of The Bodhicaryavatara by Shantideva. BICW requires the members to learn at least 2 courses each week, so they need to watch the videos for completing the requirements. Except for the required content, they have to follow some the practicing videos for meditation, chanting sutras and preying. However, the visualization results do not show this point that the interviewee mentioned; while the videos of rituals of religious ceremonies have higher clicks, such as the ritual of taking rebirth, which often used to release souls after one is dead. Another topic of the videos, praying for a blessing, is also popular, and the three interviewees all talked about it. Prayer of Auspiciousness is a great sutra that people can avoid difficulties and get the luck of doing the kind things.


As for the current YouTube channels, they all agree that the search engine of YouTube is easy to be used for finding their desire videos. The videos quality is high, and the sound is clear. They knew that the main Buddhism websites out of China often embedded the BICW-NY videos in. However, as for the drawbacks, they also left several comments. One interviewee said that some of the BICW-NY videos are not organized into playlists, such as the Buddhism songs, history records of broadcasts, which are hard for him to find directly in the BICW-NY channel. Besides, the broadcast videos were mixed with test videos, which made him feel confused when he received the notification from BICW-NY. But he still recognized that the BICW-NY channel is organized very well, the current playlists completely collect the related videos. Another interviewee said that BICW-NY hadn’t used the annotations which can recommend some related videos at the end of one video. She recommended using this function for helping more beginners to browse more content of the channel. The last interviewee mentioned that some videos were out of data. In China, they have already updated the course edition, but BICW NY hasn’t updated it yet.


When asked the advice for improving the BICW-NY channel, they also brought forward some fascinating ideas. Add more Guru’s presentations in universities to attract young people, upload some BICW-NY activities to expand the organization, use the annotations, keywords, and labels to enhance the search accuracy.


Once they were shown the visualizations results, they found some facts are pretty interesting. For example, the original thought that United States must be the largest viewers’ location because the host of BICW-NY is in New York; while, actually more viewers are from Taiwan. They also felt quite surprised that the most popular video is not Sutra before Class, which they have to chant before each class. However, after thinking about this phenomenon deeply, some of the interviewees considered this may be a good thing. Maybe there are more people who are not BICW members, so they would love to click the Prayer of Auspiciousness, Diamond Sutra and the ritual of taking rebirth for completing some basic chanting or practicing.


As for the age and gender distribution, they agreed with the results. Although currently, there is the number of people learning Buddhism, the numbers of the young generation are much less than the older group. They worried about the tendency may influence the Buddhism’s continue.


Once combined their thoughts and the records, they still keep their suggestions and add more. For example, for fulfilling the Taiwanese needs, who use traditional Chinese characters, BICW-NY may consider about add traditional Chinese characters subtitles in popular videos. Creating specific playlists for the young generation, which only collect short videos, understandable courses for beginners.

Findings of the visualization and of the user research

In a word, some interesting findings were dug out from the visualization and research results.

  1. The sutra videos of BICW-NY are more popular, such as Prayer of Auspiciousness, Diamond Sutra, the ritual of taking rebirth, The Divine Mantra of Avalokitesvara.
  2. There are more female viewers than male viewers, and the main age group is 25-44.
  3. The main viewers from Taiwan rather than the United States.
  4. The BICW-NY YouTube channel didn’t use annotations.
  5. Some live videos were mixed with test videos that make subscribers confused.
  6. Some BICW-NY videos have not been organized into playlists.



  1. Upload more preying videos, short videos and the videos that can attract more people of the young generation.
  2. Start to edit annotations for linking more videos in BICW-NY to enhance the broadcast impact.
  3. Adding labels, keywords for improving search efficiency.
  4. Add traditional Chinese characters subtitles in popular videos for fulling people who don’t use the simplified Chinese characters.
  5. Translate some popular videos into English for letting more people know Buddhism and BICW.



Youtube channels can export various data. For next time, analyzing the details of the subscriber’s distribution, such as the locations distribution in blocks of NYC, is much more useful to find them and raise religion parties. Also, it may be achievable to apply machine learning techniques to analysis Chinese content to find keywords in the video and split the original videos into more pieces for helping more beginners understand the basic Buddhism wisdom.


  1. BICW-NY YouTube channel:

  1. Tableau public: