The most interesting change in trend is the length of the films. In the 2011 list, no film was longer than 5 minutes long. By 2012 we have 4 films that are 5 minutes or longer.
Last year YouTube invested $100 million into setting up 160 channels with a further $200 million put into marketing them. Their belief? Create original content (long form and short-form playlists) posted by YouTube Partners so they could dominate the space for internet TV. This way it creates an experience where people can ‘kick back’ and watch content from the comfort of their living room on the big screen.
Netflix and Hulu made deals this year with Hollywood Studios; Apple are yet again rumoured to be entering the streaming game (but this rumour appears every so often) and Amazon are starting to stream movies. Internet TV could well be the next big thing if only anyone could work out how to make money from it.
“There’s a giant pot of money that is controlled by the broadcast and cable television industries. It’s because there is comfort and scale and predicability. There’s a fair way to go – years – before the online video industry has enough scale to move those dollars over. But it is inevitable.” David Grant, president of PopSugar and a former president of FoxTV Studios.
YouTube are in a strong position. They have hours of top quality watchable original content being posted every day, they have proven to be able to create their own original content. They have thousands of channels designed for every conceivable interest. Plus, in 2012 YouTube changed their algorithm to encourage people to watch and subscribe rather than click onto a film and then move onto another creator.
“I believe that every interest will, at some point, have a channel serving that interest. People are building channels and creating audiences, which is something they couldn’t do before in such numbers.” Robert Kyncl, global head of content at YouTube.
The results of the Top Ten suggest that this it is. I’ve just sat for over 8 minutes watching some angry Dad in a chair ranting at his daughter. Our behaviour on YouTube is changing. Now it’s time to take it a step further. Our own clients’ channels have reflected that the change in algorithm means that relevant keyworded content is more fruitful and also has increased the percentage of subscribers. In one case, we saw a 200% increase in subscribers due to the algorithm change.
In November YouTube cut the funding to 96 of their newly created channels.
Many have speculated that this is due to a failure in their strategy. Others have said that YouTube under estimated the amount that they’d need to invest in each channel. We don’t even know how long YouTube planned to fund each channel for.
YouTube are still funding 40% of the channels that they invested in. TheWarnerSound, DanceOn, PitchFork TV rank within the top 50 channels viewed ever. These channels are drawing subscribers and millions of viewers a month. Creating a channel is a long term investment, it enforces branding, encourages engagement and reminds clients regularly that you’re an active player. I say that 2013 is the year of the channel.