youtube, facebook, twitter and the rise of the new media model

Entertainment, communications, and advertising have been changing in the last 15 years as never before.  They are set to change even more radically in the next five to ten years.

The tried and true models of yesteryear; TV networks, movies, radio, sports, and the music industry have all been shaken to their foundations by the rise of the internet.  Some have adapted better than others and some are on the edge of extinction.

The power of a single internet event to reach out to millions and even tens of millions of people at a time is now undeniable.  How people, companies, and even governments harness that power is what is being debated and shaped at the moment.  The one’s that figure out how to utilize and monetize this force will be the winners in this bonanza.  The losers will fade into history and become little more than Wikipedia entries.

Facebook and Twitter have been publicly battling it out for the last few years.  Both are scrambling to add more and more people to their rolls and trying to capture people’s attention. YouTube also is also adding more people to their rolls but in a much quieter fashion.

All three are depending more and more on the mobile market.  The mobile versions of these sites all have advertising in one form or another.  Ads come in the form of static and unobtrusive side ads or full screen ads played before the featured content comes on.

In Facebook and Twitter you actually have to pay to promote your posts to appear to a wider audience but you don’t have the guarantee that people will actually click on your ad to see what you sell or do.

In YouTube the ads come in the form of the television ads that we all are familiar with.  These ads are either a minutes long ad that can be bypassed after 5 seconds or an ad that is 30 seconds or less that can’t be bypassed.  In order to catch the viewer’s attention, the advertisers have become very creative.  They take ads that on TV would be 1 to 2 minutes long and shrink them down to make their case in seconds and keep the person engaged.  The static ads in Twitter and Facebook don’t do this.

Another thing I have had pointed out to me is that in Facebook and Twitter the users take on the role of bait for advertising by creating content for others to come in and see or they’re potential targets for that advertising.  Other than getting access to the site they are not compensated for their content.

YouTube actively engages with the public in a different way.  YouTube of course wants people to click on ads, but content creators can be incentivized to create content.  YouTuber’s can monetize their content.  With persistence and creative content you could actually make YouTube into a full time job.  Further if you get a sponsor then you’ve really got it made.

Another thing I have been admiring lately about YouTube has been their attempts to organize their main content providers (channels) and get them to create new content, cooperate, and exchange ideas with each other.  In particular I have been amazed by 3 YouTubers.

Hannah Hart, Mamrie Hart, and Grace Helbig are three twenty somethings that each have followings in the hundreds of thousands.  They regularly appear in each others videos, they film each other, support each other, and just recently they parlayed their success into a feature-length film sold on their channels and only available online.

Recently one of them, Grace Helbig, left her old YouTube channel (owned by another group) to work on her own channel.  She basically left the  channel with 2.4 million subscribers to start from scratch.  As of mid February 2014 she is back up to 1.5 million subscribers and adding people all the time.  This at a time when conventional TV viewership is dropping.

It’s not only YouTube that is creating original content.  Other online powerhouses are creating content for online customers.  NetFlix, Hulu, and Amazon are also getting into the game by creating original online content and shows.  Some of it supported by advertising dollars and some by subscription fees.

Are Facebook and Twitter taking note?  Sort of.  Twitter has Vine and Facebook has Instagram. Both have short video formats that will be perfect for the mobile market advertising formats.  If advertisers are clever enough then they should be able to make use of these short formats to sell their goods.

But I am really liking what I am seeing out of YouTube.  The idea that talented people who were previously just viewers and unappreciated content creators can now monetize their content and become a part of the process is really appealing to me.  It’s not all sunshine of course.  YouTube still takes about 45% of the advertising revenue stream (which some content creators consider extremely high) but it’s something that can be adjusted over time.

As we move more and more into this digital age where ideas and thought are becoming more and more important, I think we need to rethink the old media models and start to consider that entertainment and information are no longer flowing down from central sources from on high but flowing freely up, down, left, and right across this world.  Those that realize this will successfully adapt and be able to reap the benefits of this new age.

2 Thoughts on “youtube, facebook, twitter and the rise of the new media model

    • William Pora on February 23, 2014 at 6:27 PM said:

      Yup, yup I saw that. Like I said it doesn’t mean that most people will be able to make a living off of YouTube but I think that a lot of the talent that was normally focused on TV and Hollywood as their chance at stardom is now going to migrate online.

      Another thing that I thought of is that the talent is becoming more and more aware of their worth to the industry and will demand a larger cut of the revenue.

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