YouTube’s Google+ multi-channel change and the future of the network

Google has introduced a new feature that will eventually enable management of multiple YouTube channels from within a single Google+ account, which may not sound like much but should make it a whole heap easier for channel managers to keep control of their outputs — and suggests the way the network will evolve.

[ABOVE: PSY – Gangnam Style has attracted over 2 billion views on YouTube, the most of any video, ever. He introduced his latest track on April 13, how will this go?]

Get creative

The feature’s only available to bona fide YouTube creators at present as the company beta tests the new feature, which will eventually allow a single account to manage up to 50 YouTube channels. You can find out how to access and unlock it here and there’s a Google+ channel in which to discuss any problems right here.

There’s other new features within the service upgrade, including improved video sharing, live broadcasts via Hangouts, and a YouTube tab on your Google+ page.

Your channel’s Google account must first have a Google+ profile to start the process, and you should ensure you are using the latest iteration of the YouTube app on iOS or Android.

So, how is this useful?

YouTube isn’t a content Wild West any more, it’s an established brand that’s developing its own space as a prima facie broadcaster — everyone is there, from brands and businesses to musicians, independent artists, and more.

One of the big problems for YouTube channel managers is time, or the lack of it. Uploading content takes time, putting in the titles, descriptions and tags (and then revising it), commenting, and putting clips out through social networks. The ability to manage all these channels from within a single Google+ identity should save a little time, and also enables wider fields to self-expression.

YouTube has become an important content on demand destination in the UK. Nearly half (48 percent) of the UK online population have used digital catch-up TV services in the last three months, with iPlayer, YouTube and TiVO the most popular, according to a YouGov survey.

Shaun Austin, associate director for media consulting at YouGov, said: “The popularity of YouTube and iPlayer show that the services that are used most are usually the services that are free.”

[ABOVE: Epic Rap Battles of History is Maker Studio’s most popular YouTube series and has generated in excess of 60 million views.]

Channel marketing

We’ve explored the growing importance of YouTube within the media mix in the past. Its evolution has spawned some huge content creatives, such as YouTube network, Maker Studios, which currently generates 2.5 billion page views each month across 10,000 YouTube channels.

Clearly what we’re seeing in this latest move from the service is one in which it begins to recognize the scale of what YouTube network creatives are accomplishing in the sense that it is making it a little easier to manage larger networks.

The way Maker Studios works may be of interest. It produces a small amount of content itself, while most of its content is aggregated from its community of creators, which it supports with development, production, and distribution and sales services.

Maker chief operating officer Courtney Holt says it’s all about the audience, “You have to understand the audience” he told Broadcast. He also warns against budgeting projects at the same level as television projects.

“It’s very difficult if you’re used to producing on TV dollars and you suddenly start to work around online CPM rates. A lot of the successful YouTube creators began by experimenting before it became a business for them.”

He also warns that YouTube is optimized for users, not content creators and that audiences don’t “wake up thinking they want to discover a new video they’ve not seen before.”

“Traditional producers are used to handing content to a network, not finding an audience themselves. For every dollar you spend on production, you need to spend as much again on audience development, and it can easily become a vacuum. The best way to gain an audience is via other creators’ established audiences,” he tells Broadcast.

There’s a hidden notion here, of course: As YouTube gears up to connect larger networks with Google+ identities it is not just attempting to shore up its social network, but also demonstrating the increasing maturity of its video sharing service. It does this by recognizing the multi-project nature of some of the most active creatives looking to exploit its service, which in conjunction with the loose federation of Maker Studios, hints at a group-focused consolidation ahead, at least for the most ambitious players.

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