Since its genesis, YouTube has been known for being where most people go to watch user-created video content, even though Facebook is quickly picking up the rear in this arena as well. Even so, despite being considered a social media platform, more and more it seems like YouTube considers traditional television, or television alternatives like Netflix and Hulu, as their direct competition instead of other social media sites.
YouTube Red, a paid content service that features movies, shows, and segments made by some of the platforms biggest stars, launched in October of 2015, and now they have slated seven new “star-studded shows” to premiere exclusively on YouTube later this year, absolutely free, meaning the viewership will most likely be unprecedented. These shows include high-profile names such as Kevin Hart, Ellen DeGeneres, Katy Parry, Demi Lovato, Ludacris, and many others, including some of YouTube-exclusive stars, easily going head-to-head with programs viewed solely on T.V., if for no other reason than ease of access on a mobile device, as well as giving other platforms that require a monthly fee.
Although there is no doubt that all of these new programs and deals have been in the works for a long time, these ad-supported shows could most certainly not come at a better time for YouTube, as the platform has seen a severe ad freeze by the majority of their standard advertisers over the last few months due to a series of complaints of inappropriate or insensitive content made by some of the platform’s biggest stars. Many advertisers pulled their YouTube ads out of fear of being connected to a scandal or having their brand show up on content that some consider as not family-friendly. In turn, YouTube began recategorizing a lot of their content that was previously openly viewable by all ages as unsuitable for anyone under the age of 13. These new shows, however, seem to be specifically geared towards the viewership lost by other channels and concurrently make them a much safer bet for advertisers.
This announcement by a platform that already boasts reaching more 18- to 49-year-olds than any U.S. cable network just continues to show the force of what we can currently see as a trend; the shift from television to mobile devices as the main form of delivery for entertainment. Radio, being the powerhouse of entertainment before the 50s, saw this same shift when television came around, and as history repeats itself, this new shift opens up a unique opportunity for brands, both new and old, to establish themselves as market leaders as viewership begins to move again from television to online even more drastically than it has in the past. Don’t wait to do your research, now is the time to figure out how to leverage this change.
You can read Google’s post about this announcement here: