As the web TV/video industry continues to shift and mold and grow – and to test models of monetization – business approaches and content development are taking on various forms. In this regard, there’s been some interesting news coming from YouTube in recent days and weeks.
On the one hand, the web video giant seems to be positioning itself as an entirely separate entity from competitors like Netflix by focusing on its viral video proliferation and encouraging home-grown talent rather than focusing only on celebrity-driven content; while on the other hand, it’s been reported that YouTube will begin offering paid subscription channels, placing itself into direct competition with the likes of the subscription-only Netflix streaming service.
So, it actually appears that YouTube will attempt to find and nourish a home somewhere in between these two dichotomies, still tailoring its services to the non-paying media consumer and creator, but also encouraging a paid platform to increase revenue, attract advertisers, and inspire higher quality content. This positioning allows it to provide various levels of content while also providing a sense of conversation and community – something most other TV and streaming services can’t offer.
The size and growth of its audience is certainly not the problem. As of now, the company experiences more than 1 billion unique monthly viewers and claims viewers spent 50% more time watching YouTube in 2012 than during 2011, reports Ad Age. But the related questions are: how can this system be further monetized? And what is YouTube’s brand identity? Is it a replacement to TV, a home video hub, a content creation workshop?
Well, the company has an answer. And that is: it’s not TV. ”I thought that YouTube was like TV, but it isn’t,” said Robert Kyncl, global head of content at YouTube, as quote by Ad Age. “TV is one-way. YouTube talks back. TV skews older; YouTube attracts Gen C….A view on YouTube is worth more than an impression on TV.”
In that same Ad Age article, it explains that “Generation C” is comprised of 18 to 34 year olds focused on “creation, curation, connection and community.”
With that group as its focus, for both the creation and the consuming of content, YouTube’s recent messaging indicates it “wants advertisers to know it’s never going to be like television,” according to this article on The Verge. Instead, it will focus on further situating itself its own thing, its own service, its own platform for various types of web TV/video.