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Content Insider #610 – Content Utopia
By Miles Weston
“Look, talent comes everywhere, but having something to say and a way to say it so that people listen to it, that’s a whole other bag. And unless you get out and you try to do it, you’ll never know.” – Jack, “A Star is Born,” Warner Bros., 2018
We don’t understand why folks waste their time watching 80 (O.K. 90+) percent of the stuff that’s on YouTube.
Nope we’re not much interested in:
While these guys (and thousands of other folks) are pulling out all the stops to keep their 10-50+million viewers. a seven-year-old attracts 26B views for his Toys Review channel and pulled down $22M.
All our kid is interested in is creating and sharing music with a big bunch of friends around the globe.
Makes us wonder where we went wrong.
But looking back and second-guessing yourself is a sure way to get run over today.
Remember back in 2006 when Google spent a mind-boggling $1.65B for YouTube?
Well, a couple of guys (who are no longer there) thought Verizon could leapfrog YouTube by dropping $6.4B to combine AOL and Yahoo and make a killer home for video makers/viewers.
The problem was that the 4+ billion folks on the planet, 3.1 B social media users and 5.1B mobile device users didn’t quite agree.
So, Verizon brought in Hans Vestberg from Ericsson who knows more than a little about what is required to build tomorrow’s 5G wireless infrastructure. One that the content world (producers, packagers, consumers) will need and be willing to pay for for a long, long time.
As we’ve seen in recent years, people are fickle.
Different age groups like different stuff at different times of the day and in different formats.
Variety – Different age groups gravitate to different content and they view it in different ways. As a result, content developers and marketers can plan and target messages based on viewing habits.
Vestberg looked over the content landscape and realized if you’re a media person you’re constantly investing in developing the next great thing that people will tell other people about, so you can add subscribers. If you’re lucky, you may even win a few awards and statuettes along the way to put on your shelf.
Under the Radar – Often looked down on by content creators and distributors, YouTube has a broad potential audience from around the world with different viewing habits.
The content investment crowd – also known as FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) and BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) – focus most of their attention on getting people to ditch their appointment TV habits and switch to anytime, anyplace, any device viewing.
Netflix, which presently dominates the professional digital media, has nearly 120 million subscribers in 190 countries.
With over 100 million members of its growing inventory of Prime service content, Amazon isn’t far behind. Of course, Bezos sweetens the offer by giving people fast (sometimes free) shipping of stuff from his store.
CBS, Hulu, Disney and others are competing now, or will very shortly, for your digital entertainment dollars.
Still flying slightly below the radar, there’s Apple which is scheduled to compete with a slate of high-profile programming (featuring the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and more). They might follow Amazon’s example and give Apple device owners free content access.
According to Allan McLennan, CEO of PADEM Media Group, a lot of people in the M&E industry like to point to the growth of the new IP (internet protocol) services as the reason for the erosion of appointment-TV.
“The overall industry has been struggling to navigate the opportunities being presented,” McLennan commented. “It’s true that the content landscape is rapidly changing, but that is for the good of the industry not to its demise.”
Audience Transition – Younger people who were born being entertained by whimsical and non-scripted content easily spend more of their time with YouTube content while boomers quickly click on traditional TV.
“It is unsettling to people who set their clocks by their TV schedule (boomers plus),” he continued, “but it has also never been better because now we have truly a tremendous choice of content and viewing options via OTT (over the top), Amazon Prime, Apple TV, IP streaming services and democratized content distribution.”
Consumers aren’t necessarily watching television less, they’re choosing to access television content through online streaming services instead of cable subscriptions, effectively cutting the cord:
Small Big Screen – Smartphone and mobile device users not only have their units with them all the time, they are increasingly using them to watch content.
“What’s really happening,” McLennan added, “is that consumers of all ages are, as the old saying goes, having their cake and eating it too.”
The bigger and higher- resolution screens on today’s smartphones enable (encourage) consumers to regularly use their phones to view video content.
Don’t Call – Mobile device voice traffic has remained flat for years while data content and increasingly streaming video is growing at a healthy rate. Streaming content has had the most dramatic impact on the rapid rise.
In addition, the growth in availability and popularity of “unlimited” data plans make the use of smartphones for video streaming more feasible.
In 2020, when 5G service is standard in most urban areas, the time users spend on their mobile devices will only increase, reducing the time spent watching the big monitor on the wall.
It will simply be a matter of convenience.
Open Door Policy – YouTube management quickly realized that their audience didn’t want and wouldn’t pay for streaming content no matter how good it was. For the global user base, free meant free and they would “pay” by viewing ads.
The mobile move opens the door to for YouTube to become a more serious location for people to impulsively go first for their content.
While Susan Wojcicki, YouTube CEO; tried the Netflix, Hulu and Amazon subscription route with YouTube Red, it proved to be “less than” successful.
YouTube already delivers a global audience.
Mobile Choice – In many regions of the world TV sets, computers and tablets are out of reach for most consumers so, the smartphone becomes their all-in-one communication device, including streaming video.
Wojcicki, who took over YouTube after heading up Google’s ad arm, probably should have ignored what the up-and-comer streamers were doing and focused on their roots and strength.
YouTube has historically been a free platform, and once a brand is established, it’s extremely difficult to change your identity.
Folks are used to YouTube being free, so it is more strategic for them to focus on their strengths – depth, breadth, diversity – and do more to enable serious content producers by expanding their viewing and monetization opportunities.
To strengthen their global content plans, international YouTube now has 90 localized versions, across 80 languages and their YouTube Go app is available in 130 countries.
According to a recent Pew Research study, there are indications YouTube is moving to become a bona fide entertainment network.
They have quietly shifted their recommendation system to promote lengthy videos and reward (provide added visibility) to channels based on watch hours.
To have a stronger appeal to marketers, the company is also working with trusted third-party vendors to assist brand suitability so that content owners maximize their earning potential and marketers are assured their promotion appears with consumer-friendly content.
Free (ad supported) content provides a new global opportunity for professional content developers/owners to reach a much broader potential viewing audience and be properly compensated/rewarded for their work.
By cleaning up and monitoring its platform, YouTube can present a strong case for providing a “safe haven” for serious professional content developers/producers across a wide range of genre to reach their audiences quickly and economically.
Then, it will be up to YouTube’s algorithms and the content consuming public.
addition to viewer habit, YouTube also provides a major advantage over
subscription content services – breadth of catalog!
Movies, TV shows and original content are only a portion of the video material that is available (and consumed) on YouTube.
Whether you’re interested in daily U.S. talk shows, Indian or other country contest shows, Mexican or British comedy shows/series, French or Argentinian documentaries, Japanese or Australian dramas, streaming government press conferences or just about any content from anywhere YouTube can deliver.
other words, Netflix and Amazon and 100 other OTT services are not fighting one
entity in YouTube, they are competing with millions of content creators.
All YouTube has to do is concentrate on their job. From the consumer’s perspective, they can produce solid results for everyone involved…including YouTube.
Wojcicki, her team and content creators/producers need to remember what Jack said in A Star is Born, “All you got is you and what you have to say to people and they are listening right now, and they are not going to be listening forever.”
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