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IDS spends more on his unwatched YouTube channel than most people earn in a year

In the mood for watching some videos on benefits system reform? The DWP's got you covered.

Iain Duncan Smith
Iain Duncan Smith looking sheepish. Photograph: Getty Images.

The Department for Work and Pensions serves “over 20 million customers”, its YouTube channel boasts. Sadly, only 451 of these customers have bothered to subscribe to said channel, and even fewer have got round to watching most of its videos - like this, one, dealing with personal hygiene. It's had 12 at the time of writing:

Buzzfeed reports today that it a response to one of its Freedom of Information requests has revealed that in the nine months between April 2013 and January 2014, the DWP spent £31,064.52 on its channel, during which time 33 videos were made. That’s roughly £940 per video.

According to BuzzFeed, this 30 grand figure only covers the production costs, and doesn’t include the “small in-house team” that runs the channel from its offices.

(You’d think that for just under a grand you could hire some decent lights.)

We were curious to see if the DWP was particularly bad at attracting viewers, but it looks like a pretty poor performance across the board. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills beats it with more than 1,000 subscribers, but IDS still has one up on the Cabinet Office’s channel, which only has 139 subscribers. In the past year it's released 44 videos, the most popular of which is about government savings in the year 2011/2012. It has 874 views. Glory days.

Still, the government offices that have embraced the multimedia age are doing better than the Civil Service, which has a paltry 64 subscribers. But that’s still 30 more people than have watched the below video, sexily entitled: “DWP Social Justice: Working in partnership with government agencies and other organisations. pt.1”

BuzzFeed estimates that £31,000 is enough to get 75 young people onto the government's Help to Work scheme. Maybe some young talent might be useful in the DWP's social media department.