In the ever changing landscape of new media, there has been news of a massive development concerning Google and the commissioning of exclusive content to be shown on their video platform site, YouTube.
This changing landscape coupled with Google’s desire for unequivocal dominance, both and online and now offline too, will see YouTube starting to show exclusive content in a bid to compete with broadcasters. It is believed this will also help with the transition to Google TV as internet enabled televisions look set to rise in popularity.
According to the Wall Street Journal YouTube are planning on changing their Homepage to feature channels for topics such as Arts and Sports. Whilst some channels will be made up of existing content already on the site, others will feature several hours of original content that has been professionally produced through partner production companies and creative artist agencies. It’s rumoured they’re in talks with William Morris Endeavor and International Creative Management over a collaborative deal.
So how are YouTube going to fund this new programming? Well it’s Google who are picking up the tab for this; they’re planning on investing $100 million (£65 million) into new programming in which deals are currently being finalised.
YouTube themselves have enjoyed a huge rise in monthly unique visits since their infancy back in 2005. According to recent comScore figures, YouTube and their partner sites accounted for 162 million unique viewers out of a possible 180 million in August 2011, with each viewer watching for an average on 18 hours each. With such a rise in viewers, this presents a perfect opportunity to dabble in original content, which in turn will help drive advertising revenues.
This isn’t the first time that YouTube have dabbled with exclusive content. They had the rights to show 60 matches of the Indian Premier League Cricket, believed to be the first major sporting event broadcast online for free. They have also shown exclusive live concerts such as U2s 360 degree tour, whilst they have also launched their own series of concerts called ‘Unstaged: An Original Series from American Express’ featuring artists such as Arcade Fire.
Other platforms have also seen the value of exclusive content; recently Facebook streamed a live FA Cup game between Ascot and Wembley. Not exactly a thrilling encounter, I’m sure you’ll agree, but nevertheless an example of possible things to come.
So what does this mean for the future of YouTube? Well this is no doubt going to diversify their content and I guess the aim is to drive more unique traffic as the demand for unique and original content grows. With faster broadband speeds and advancements in technology, the future for watching better and more original content, be it live or pre recorded, is the next untapped source. Google is a money-making machine and if they think this will drive extra advertising revenue, then in all likeliness it is going to happen.
This brings me onto Google TV and the advancements of technology in terms of internet enabled set top boxes, which will allow you to watch programmes over the internet on your TV. This isn’t anything new, but we do know that Google are hell-bent on making their own device the market leader [See: Will Google TV be Good for Digital Marketing?] Their investment into new programming to be aired on YouTube is a possible step towards the evolution of Google TV. But like with anything, this won’t happen overnight, and what we are witnessing is the possible foundations for more Google produced content.
Whether it will be a success or not will be determined by the quality of the programming and the audience it can attract. By starting off with niche topics or genres, they will get viewers through hard core fans and followers, but whether this has legs and will snow ball into something more mainstream, well I guess the viewers will decide their fate.