Last Friday, Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s Global Head of Content Partnerships, announced that “More great content creators (are) coming to YouTube.”
Many in the mainstream media wrote stories about new YouTube channels created by well-known personalities will soon join YouTube’s existing channel lineup, including Madonna, Ashton Kutcher, and Shaquille O'Neal. Like Captain Renault (Claude Rains) in the movie Casablanca (1942), I imagine their editors told them, “Round up the usual suspects.”
But YouTube isn’t trying to find the next new hit for the major broadcast TV networks, which have been steadily losing their audience since the early 1980s. No, the largest worldwide video-sharing community is trying to exponentially expand on the viewing options created by the advent of cable TV, which has been steadily gaining an audience over the past 30 years.
As Kyncl said in his post on the YouTube Blog, “Cable television expanded our viewing possibilities from just a handful of channels to hundreds, and brought us some of the most defining media experiences of the last few decades -- think MTV, ESPN and CNN. Today, the web is bringing us entertainment from an even wider range of talented producers, and many of the defining channels of the next generation are being born, and watched, on YouTube.”
In other words, if hundreds of cable TV channels were better than a handful of network TV channels, then millions of YouTube channels will be exponentially better than hundreds of cable TV channels.
Kyncl added, “Our goal with this channels expansion, along with the grants and educational programs we’ve launched in the past year, is to bring an even broader range of entertainment to YouTube, giving you more reasons to keep coming back again and again. And for advertisers, these channels will represent a new way to engage and reach their global consumers.”
That’s YouTube’s goal. The trick will be convincing more marketers that narrowcasting your video ads to a smaller audience of qualified prospects who are leaning forward is smarter than broadcasting your TV commercials to a larger group of couch potatoes who only get up when the commercial brakes interrupt their viewing.
Hey, that’s not what I learned about mass marketing when I went to college – back in the 20th century. But it’s the 21st century now.
So, if you analyze the original channels that will appear on YouTube starting next month, here are 20 channels that I think represent a new way for advertisers to engage and reach distinct market segments:
- 123UnoDosTres: A Hispanic channel offering A-List celebs, music/dance, fashion, sports and telenovelas to a younger bi-lingual audience.
- Car and Driver Television: Driven to Extremes. Engaging content brought to you by three iconic brands -- Car and Driver, Road & Track, and Popular Mechanics.
- CrashCourse: The Vlogbrothers give weekly lessons in science and the humanities - college will never be the same again.
- Digs: Inspired by Meredith's home and gardening expertise, Digs brings a new, entertaining and fun attitude to life.
- eHow Pets & Animals: A new channel devoted to the intersection of pets and family.
- FAWN: FAWN is a hip, cool and forward-thinking women’s network featuring and inspired by Michelle Phan.
- KickTV: Connecting soccer fans to the game like never before with daily news, info, entertainment from competitions the world over.
- Lionsgate Fitness Channel: The premier destination for high-quality fitness programming featuring top brands/personalities, and cutting-edge workouts.
- Machinima: Entertainment destination for gamers around the world, featuring action, thriller, horror, sci-fi, and irreverent comedy content.
- Maker Music: The Maker Music Network will offer high quality music content through a community of artists, music lovers and additional talent.
- My Damn Channel: Live: A hosted 30-minute live weekly comedy series with premieres of videos by big & new talent PLUS daily 10-minute interactive blasts.
- New Animators: Animation for teens and young adults.
- Reuters.com: A distinctive line-up of talent-driven video programs that reflect global leadership in news, analysis and programming innovation.
- Slate News Channel: Topical video features showcasing irreverent, populist sensibilities of Slate and webby production values of its video team.
- Stan Lee's World of Heroes: Every story has a hero; from the legendary Stan Lee come amazing tales about unique characters and extraordinary individuals.
- TEDEducation: Audio from incredible teachers vivified by some of the world's best animators.
- The Onion: The online presence of the Onion Broadcasting Company.
- The Red Bull Channel: The Red Bull channel chronicles the competition and daily lives of the world’s best action sports athletes.
- WWE Fan Nation: New, exclusive, behind-the-scenes videos that give unheralded access to WWE superstars and divas outside the ring.
- YOMYOMF: Ryan Higa, Justin Lin & Kevin Wu aim to redefine and give a new voice to the Asian American experience through a unique point-of-view.
Now, I understand the tendency to round up the usual suspects. But, we aren’t in Casablanca.
Some marketers may not remember that MTV, ESPN, and CNN weren’t household names 30 years ago. But these cable TV channels demonstrated that there were audiences for music, sports, and news.
That’s why I’m betting on YouTube channels that represent a new way for advertisers to engage and reach distinct market segments. That’s what marketers want to round up in the 21st century.