Hey you, avid reader! Are you tired of jumping across media platforms to keep tabs on your favorite videos, movies, and news programs? If so, then YouTube is your new best friend, or at least they will be in the near future, according to none other than the Head of YouTube himself. The streaming video company’s ultimate aim is to become a key player in shaping the way average users consume video—all video, that is!
Remember six years ago when YouTube first launched? Well, it hasn’t changed much. But that hasn’t kept it from enjoying an ever-climbing viewership (now totaling a couple billion views daily). Every criticism and controversy associated with them has been so heavily publicized that it’s not even worth mentioning their history up to this point. What is worth mentioning, however, is the company’s plan moving forward.
In a recent series of blogs—available here and here—CEO Salar Kamangar talks about a number of the brand’s latest ventures. He gives details about the company’s new endeavor to offer a wider array of streaming movies to viewers (they’ve just added over 3,000 movies to their site, which are available on-demand) as well as their recent financial investment in the potential careers of existing YouTube uploaders.
More importantly though, Kamangar makes some profound statements about the direction that online video is headed. He notes that users are “spending just 15 minutes a day on YouTube, and spending five hours a day watching TV. As the lines between online and offline continue to blur, we think that’s going to change.” Arguably, he’s absolutely right. Laptops, desktops, smartphones, iPads, televisions, coffeemakers, shower curtains, sock drawers—if you own it, you can most likely stream YouTube on it. The sheer, overwhelming availability of YouTube certainly puts it in a position to affect real change in the way consumers absorb video. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: TV isn’t going to be around forever…
Kamangar notes that “six years ago, there were…two types of video: video you watched on your TV, and video you watched on your laptop. Today there’s increasingly just video, and it’s available everywhere…” The key word here is “increasingly.” Essentially, his recent posts reinforce the notion that we’re smack dab in the middle of a transitional period as far as the distribution of digital content is concerned. We live in a time when information and entertainment are expected to be open, free, and available on demand. Well, maybe not free, but at least cheaper than usual.
Sure, the majority of YouTube’s content is free (they’ll probably always have that going for them), but their current ratio of cat videos to all other content is still roughly 76:1, and their sudden initiative in offering Hollywood movies on a pay-per-view basis may very well prove to be too little too late—that market has been dominated for years now by competing brands. Still, it’s a step in the right direction as far as the public’s perception of the brand goes. Personally, I’d be more apt to visit YouTube more frequently if their offerings were suddenly tailored to my interests, and the availability of major movies (at the rate of $2.99 per new release) is certainly an interesting draw. But even if that venture fails to pan out, I’ll at least have a robust selection of cat videos to comb through—like this little gem:
Yeah, that’s right. A cat video. I went there.
So, what are your thoughts on the brand? Do you log on to YouTube specifically, or are you only there when redirected from another site? More importantly, what do you think YouTube should be doing as it moves forward to compete with other major video content providers?