What’s Good for Users is Good for Advertisers/Content Providers
A new YouTube channel shows not only how the site itself can better compete in the online video industry, but also serves as an example of how other businesses can layout engaging video blogs.
Google is producing more original content for YouTube following the success of the hit "Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Comedy", which was exclusive to the video site. They started running a channel/show called Poptub last month, but it has not received much attention until now.
Poptub looks at popular YouTube videos, kind of like VH1’s "Web Junk", but also has reporters attending events in the entertainment industry. For example, they appeared at the MTV Video Music Awards, and the premieres for "Entourage" and "True Blood."
YouTube has always been about user-generated content (UGC), but it is looking more and more like its focus is shifting. That’s not to say it’s abandoning UGC by any means. Even Poptub is largely about the hottest UGC. But the fact that they’re starting to offer their own shows and partner with other content providers (see announced CBS deal) shows that they’re definitely looking to expand.
What’s Good for Users is Good for Advertisers/Content Providers.
Personally I think this is a very smart move on YouTube’s part. People are gravitating to the Internet for their video entertainment more than ever, and while UGC can be entertaining, it’s not likely to keep users around for very long at once, and the randomness of it makes it harder for advertisers to target audiences than it does with focused channels and programming such as these new strategies are providing. And let’s face it. YouTube is all about monetization now as they’re proving seemingly every day here recently.
Like "Cavalcade of Comedy," Poptub is offered through the Google Content Network, which is a network of sites that partner with Google to display targeted AdWords ads. Like Google says, "When you choose to advertise on the content network, you can expand your marketing reach to targeted audiences–and potential customers–visiting these sites every day." Regarding Google/YouTube offering original programming, Andrew Wallenstein makes a good point in this Reuters article highlighting Poptub:
Beyond satisfying advertisers, Google’s branded entertainment program could also entice more programmers to try online by offering monetizable distribution with the scale of TV or film while retaining ownership of intellectual property.
"It allows a content creator like Seth MacFarlane to do what he does best and forgo the traditional network model, connect with an audience of similar size and turn a profit," said George Strompolos, manager of content partnerships at YouTube.
Lack of User Engagement?
As Wallenstein also points out, some have knocked Poptub for a lack of user engagement, but I’m not sure I agree that this is an issue, seeing as how a box featuring a variety of social elements (pictured) is displayed prominently on the channel page, right beside the featured video. This box shows locations for Poptub hosts via different YouTube channels, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, blogs, etc.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that Poptub offers a pretty good look at what businesses should do with their own video blogs (or "vlogs" if you will) and incorporating them into the rest of their social media presences. First of all, I’m a huge fan of the social box concept Poptub is using. It reminds me of what WineLibrary.tv (a vlog that made its owners millions) does, which I highlighted in this SmallBusinessNewz article.
Videos on Poptub offer the option for users to comment just like any other YouTube videos as well. This combined with the offering of a variety of ways to interact via social networks spells user engagement as far as I’m concerned. And user engagement leads to relevancy right?
Only the Beginning for YouTube?
I would expect to start seeing new channels/shows on YouTube coming directly from Google in the near future as competition in online video heats up and Google continues on its YouTube-monetization quest. The stars are aligning for YouTube to become even bigger than it ever has been. More than anything, it’s like a holiday for users who are getting more variety in online programming and not having to rely on what television networks want to show them. Online video ads tend to be less intrusive than television ones too, which is going to continue to be another factor driving users online.