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Old October 18 2011, 10:39 PM   #7
Temis the Vorta
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Re: YouTube to launch professionally produced channels

WeAreTheBorg wrote: View Post
Bringing in some old media people to hijack that is pretty shitty - if it even works.
Don't worry, it won't work. Look at how old media is failing in its original format. That's because viewers expect high production values plus content that is specific to their narrow interests, which inherently appeals to a smaller audience, which can't support the budget for high production values.

That contradiction is what's killing TV - on broadcast, not so much on on cable, where subscriptions can make each audience member worth just enough more, that the budgets can support the needed production values. (It's also why space opera, with its high costs and small audience, is pretty well dead on TV.)

But how will that solution apply to YouTube, where expectations are that everything is free? Will ad revenue be more lucrative compared with TV? If so, they have a long way to go.

The whole point behind the professional channels is to try to bring YouTube up to par with TV in terms of advertising appeal. Right now, advertisers are resisting buying YouTube ad space because they don't want their products to be associated with Annoying Orange and cat videos (as though the average ad is somehow "better" than Annoying Orange).

But all that does is re-create broadcast TV on YouTube, with the same audience-can't-support-the-budget dilemma. They aren't solving that dilemma, and in fact, they're going to have to really hustle just to reach the same unsustainable level that is currently killing broadcast TV.

Just imitating old media is a stupid approach. YouTube should play to its strengths, which are 1) incredible reach (a global audience - potentially anyone with an internet connection - reached far more easily than TV is capable of); 2) diverse "programming" (from completely unprofessional - which is not to say bad - to very professional stuff); and 3) interactivity.

That third point is what YouTube should focus on. Digital content is all going towards the "free" business model because it can be easily pirated. Corporations might fight it, but they'll end up learning the same lesson the music industry did - that it's like trying to fight the tide.

The solution is to build your business on something that is un-pirate-able. Forget content - a community cannot be pirated. Imagine a YouTube channel where the prime attraction is just like TrekBBS - it's a place where you can go to interact with people who you want to interact with.

Right now, YouTube is definitely not thinking of its business as being the community. The comments sections are being rendered unpalatable by a bunch of stupid brats, running amok. But envision a system where the YouTube visitor can click a button and have the moderated experience, or the "TNZ experience" - screen out the brats or include them, as your mood suits you that day.

Give the community members more tools for running contests, customizing how they are seen by others (avatars, etc), more sophisticated ways of rating and sorting both content and other community members (to follow them more closely or screen them out entirely).

Pretty soon, the members themselves have built up "content" that they would be loathe to abandon to go join a competing site (and if YouTube was successful, competitors would follow), and that is immune from piracy.

All this needs to be paid for somehow, of course. Ads can be part of the revenue mix, but I'd also offer micropayment-based enhancements - focusing on enhancing the community experience, such as special members-only areas, fun new art to dress up your avatar, that sort of thing. Each element would be a few dollars.

Even if only 5% of members ever pay for anything, and even if the things are cheap, that global audience could provide the numbers that allow micropayments to largely support the whole system. And unlike ads, which are very culturally specific - it's very hard to do an international ad campaign that appeals globally, if for no other reason that corporate ad departments tend to be regional, not global - micropayment-based enhancements can easily be designed to have global appeal.

The key to this is, give away the content (videos) for free, so that people can have a satisfying basic experience that feels free. The attraction of this free experience will attract a massive global audience. Then charge for community-based enhancements that can pay off because the audience is huge, even if the vast majority of members are free riders.

Okay sorry for yet another mega-post. And I haven't even mentioned how I think that the video content needs to start evolving into a format that better takes advantage of interactivity - more like simple games. Imagine Terra Nova, except the members get to decide who the dinos eat next, or even what kind of dinos are eating them.
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