Video Channels: YouTube Doubles Down on Original Content
Check out YouTube’s statistics page and you will see some jaw-dropping numbers on the channel’s traffic, social media and other metrics.
Over 800 million unique visits each month. Some 500 years of YouTube video are watched every day on Facebook, with over 700 YouTube videos shared on Twitter each minute, and 100 million people taking social actions such as sharing and commenting YouTube every week. ID Content, YouTube’s copyright and content management tool, scans over 100 years of video every day and accounts for over a third of YouTube's total monetized views.
Dynamic stuff in a time of increasing mobility (more than 20% of global YouTube views come from mobile devices) and increase use of video to enhance visibility in the interactivity and social media realms. Along with this exponential growth has come maturity, as YouTube, enjoying the competitive SEO advantage of its parent Google, continues to evolve beyond its user-uploaded origins.
Announced first in April 2011 and then again in October 2011, YouTube invested $100 million this past February in close to 100 channels of professionally produced content. By far its biggest stake in original content to date, the 2.0 venture, mostly involving entertainment and publishing brands, has so far been a success.
Tracking these channels, Deadline Weekly shows some big numbers in its August 2012 rankings update. Launched in March 2012, Warner Music-produced The Warner Sound attracted the most weekly views (8,646,205), while all-time leader Mondo Media, launched in July 2012, has already racked up an eye-popping 1,252,884,579 views with its “short, viral and deadly funny” cartoon content.
While not all of the channels are performing as well and are unlikely to survive, YouTube has announced a new round of funding estimated at $200 million for new channel start-ups that will double their investment over the previous year.
That’s YouTube talking and acting like a serious business. While user-generated laughing babies and cute kittens will still have a home, the company is revealing a new discipline about content quality, including looking more at how much time people spend watching videos than simply counting hits.
It’s the right strategic move for the right moment. Since this January, the total hours watched on YouTube has jumped 33 percent to 4 billion from 3 billion, and ad revenue is projected to hit $3.6 billion in revenue this year, up 50 percent over 2011.
For all content producers in all media, pay attention! What YouTube is doing reinforces and reaffirms the value of taking a strategic, quality-focused approach to content. Now of course, your average company (including the all-important start-ups and smaller businesses that sustain the economy from the ground-up) will not have the budget to produce film-quality visual content. Simply throwing pre-existing content into a YouTube or other channel will not work either. The investment must be made, though—through creativity, innovation, partnership and other resourceful means.
“They'll cull the herd and work with the best,” an unnamed source said about the impending YouTube cuts—so, I ask, have you edited your content recently?
Jeff Heilman covers business, marketing, law and travel for a range of custom and trade publications. Also an award-winning photographer and copywriter, he ghostwrote Courageous Counsel, a book on the history of women general counsel in the Fortune 500, published September 2011.