YouTube has become something of a global phenomenon. Once the preserve of cat videos and people doing dumb things with firecrackers, the emergence of lower cost video production technology has allowed creative people to exploit the platform for their own ends.
More importantly, the creation of an audience has allowed these creators to extract an income from their work by collaborating with commercial partners and advertisers. This brings with it a great opportunity for advertisers, such as the company I work, The Watch Hut, to partner with these newly unleashed creatives.
TV – Is it where it’s at any more?
TV still has big name appointment-to-view, must see programming. No one can doubt the potential to create water-cooler moments of an episode of American Idol, or the new Kevin Bacon fronted series The Following for instance.
But, the web is beginning to throw out similar formats of its own, and many of the ad-funded versions are using YouTube for its ubiquitous distribution.
American Idol in particular is a great example, as Simon Cowell’s new venture is an online experience. It allows people in 26 different countries to upload their auditions online.
Whilst this offers a mix of interactions and the opportunity for advertisers to target, it is less of a passive “lean back” experience consisting of a number of short clips
The development of online video towards the standard 22/46 minute TV format however is continuing apace.
One of the more recent examples has been the British chef Jamie Oliver. He has recently begun offering his own show on the platform. The free-form and variable length cooking show is airing (if that is the right word) roughly once per month and forms the core of a channel of cooking tips from both Oliver and his less famous cohorts.
Subscriptions to his channel currently number over 200,000 with recorded views adding around 60,000 viewers for the first show of the series.
The numbers may seem small, but they are growing.
Indeed the YouTube channel subscriber numbers have already surpassed the average weekly reach of specialist channels such as the UK based Scripps-owned satellite network The Travel Channel, despite that channel being available in around 13 million UK living rooms.
What’s more, these will be delivered to Internet connected, relatively technical households who have made the decision to actively seek out the programming – rather than passively channel surfing.
With a mix of pre-roll, mid-show and on page advertising, there are a number of opportunities. One important development removes the gamble of TV advertising by only charging the advertiser if the ad is watched in full or for more than 30 seconds.
As the user actively has to select to skip the advert, it is possible for an advertiser to make an impact in the first 5 seconds of the ad.
If the ad is memorable, then it will build brand
without YouTube making a charge.
Other options allow the viewer to opt out of mid-roll advertisements in return for selecting an ad to be played in full. Again, this cements the brand in the mind of the viewer.
Google’s vision for YouTube is aiming for more celebrities and long form content. We’ve seen what is in it for the advertiser; but, what is in it for the content producer?
The answer seems to be significant amounts of cash.
The UK edition of Wired magazine recently ran an article on London based music interview channel SBTV. The network of YouTube channels SB.TV’s revenues in 2011 were £110,000.
Income from YouTube was worth £200,000 from January 2012 to October 2012. In addition, the company, started by Jamal Edwards, has secured deals with high-profile clients including Adidas, Nike and Sony.
With connected TV’s using Hulu and BBC Iplayer acting as a Trojan horse to the living room for the bundled YouTube apps, and the increasing presence of the second screen in the form of phones and tablets, it looks that the future of video content looks increasingly online rather than over the air.