YouTube, Android and the new television future

We’ve observed YouTube to be slowly but surely becoming a peer partner when it comes to broadcasting. The good news for video pros is that the company continues to develop its service, while a recent UK short shows Hollywood really is watching what happens on this emerging channel.

UK filmmakers, John Watts and Thomas Woods recently shot a low-budget pilot film (above) to demonstrate some of the concepts they hoped to use in a Chinese action epic.

Hampered by their budget (or the lack of it) they recruited help from 20 waiters across Sheffield’s Chinese restaurants, who they used as extras for their project, ‘The Lost Emperor’. They took the waiters and a tiny cast into the Peak District to shoot their two-and-a-half minute trailer in just one day.

The film was pushed out on YouTube, noticed by Hollywood and now the two directors are in talks to develop their script into an $8 million full-scale movie. Hollywood, and by inference traditional broadcasters are clearly paying attention.

YouTube, your tube

Google has its eyes on broadcasting. Like Apple it hasn’t yet been able to stake quite as deep a place in the industry as it might like, but it is improving its position. Established broadcasters and content creators aren’t yet prepared to disrupt their existing profitable business plan, though they recognie viewers have a broader choice of places to take their content from than ever before.

[BELOW: Die Antwoord feature in this video from Vice’s Noisey music channel, one of the many channels to win investment from YouTube last year.]

Google recently invested millions in new content creators including taking the steps to pull together Creator Hubs at strategic locations worldwide. That’s in addition to the $100 million it invested in channels last year. an investment its preparing to repeat in the coming months.

The top 25 new channels now average more than a million views a week and the top 33 have more than 100,000 subscribers, a key indicator of repeat viewing.

Variety has an interesting report explaining which channels work best right here, and here’s a list of the top channels — some of which have over a million subscribers.

Its investments aren’t just in content, but in delivering access to that content. Most recently it updated its YouTube app for Android with a feature iTunes has had for some time, the ability to beam shows from your smartphone to your television so long as you also have a Google TV.

Your requested clip shows up on your television set with the press of a button. You can use your smartphone to navigate through YouTube content, of course, which means you can spend quality time watching ‘Zeitgeist’, if that’s what you choose. Voice search is also supported and there’s a TGV guide (available in the US) which pulls in listings from conventional broadcasters, YouTube channels and your recently-watched shows.

YouTube — the original content outlet

In other words that clip you’ve just uploaded to YouTube is now accessible on television sets in countries worldwide. You get a similar wide potential audience through Boxee or an Apple TV.

“The world watches 4 billion hours of YouTube per month, but it’s not yet as easy to watch YouTube on your TV as it is on your computers, phones, and tablets. YouTube and Google TV are changing that,” the company says on its blog.

The result of all this activity is that YouTube has changed the way it is seen. It isn’t just an online video sharing service anymore, it has become a premium content provider.

“A year ago I think the premium content conversation was about iTunes, Hulu, Netflix, MSN and Yahoo,” sBrian Bedol, CEO of Bedrocket, told AdAge. “I don’t think premium producers were thinking about producing original content for YouTube.”

The beauty is that anyone with a good idea has a chance of getting noticed on YouTube, particularly if they achieve viral status. And that can lead to better things, just ask John Watts and Thomas Woods.

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