YouTube’s New Policy Amidst Encroaching Competition

Updated: Jan 3

Written by: Megan McDowell


Making Changes That Benefit the Company and Not the Community

In May we wrote an article entitled, The Unknown Future of TV, which looked at the changing habits of television viewing. As part of that article we looked at Casey Neistat, who we believe represents the future of television. Casey has his own show on YouTube, viewed by 4.2 million subscribers. In the article we looked at YouTube as the leader in this new and rapidly changing landscape of video watching. While some companies choose to ignore the voices, we believe that is why market research online communities are great. MROC’s provide a way to listen to your audience to be able to understand why things are changing so that you can better prepare and benefit from the change.


The beginning of September marked an interesting week as YouTube decided to change policies in regards to how they monetize advertising revenues which has affected a host of content producers. The move comes at a time when, as Casey Neistat put it, all forms of media are moving towards video. He said in the last quarterly earnings of Facebook, the COO, Sheryl Sandberg said the word ‘video’ about 50 times. Twitter is pushing harder than ever to promote video and offering video creators up to 70% of the profits from advertising. Facebook said that the heart of all their services is video. Amazon recently created a YouTube-like site for video creators. Casey’s blog isn’t a judgement call on YouTube, as to whether they should or shouldn’t have created these guidelines, his point is the importance of YouTube communicating with their audience, fans, followers and creators. YouTube is a community and they are being told by some of their most famous community members that they are not being fair.


Unclear Community Policies

Casey Neistat, a self-professed loyal fan of YouTube and who travels around the world speaking on their behalf, posted his video without his sunglasses which he always wears during his videos. He looked at the camera directly and explained how YouTube created a new algorithm to remove advertisements from videos that they deem inappropriate. His problem wasn’t in the fact that YouTube is trying to police content and protect advertisements. He said that he completely understands the need, as YouTube has had more videos posted than ever before, with a lot of it being inappropriate, and that creating guidelines will help grow the channel. His main problem came with the fact that YouTube never communicated this change or explained it in advance of implementation. Also, this change is affecting creators in the space where it hurts the most, and that is the wallet. With the algorithm deciding what is appropriate and what is not, rather than humans, creating the potential for errors which creators have been complaining about. The whole point of Casey’s argument is that he understands the policies but would like it to have been clearly communicated in advance. This is an example of the need to clearly communicate with your community, whether it be YouTube or an online research community.


This article also touches on a special point regarding the future of content creation. As the digital world focuses on video, and looks to creators to create this content, the revenue stream is very small. With ad revenues decreasing since 2012 on YouTube for creators, individuals like Philip De Franco stated that they have to create other streams of revenue for supporting their channel. De Franco who has a subscription base of 4.7 million followers to his video series describes how his money comes through merchandise that he sells through his store and through ad revenue that he generates separately from YouTube. As these large competitors are looming and seeing video as the future, will it increase revenue sharing with its creators in a way to attract more people to its platform?


Loyalty Takes Long to Build But Quick to Break

What this whole issue points out is that communication and loyalty are now more important in business than ever before. As video seems to be the main focus of these tech giants, it will be interesting to watch how they retain users and attract new ones. One thing seems clear, users need to be rewarded for their time creating content, and that communication with their provider is key. As Casey points out, one thing that YouTube has done better than anyone else was their ability to create a loyal community among their creators, and to keep that loyalty will require communication to be of increased importance.


We believe that our market research online community software is geared for this younger generation of users who want their voices heard with the brand that they identify with.


If you would like to hear about how our community software can help you build brand loyalty among your customers please feel free to contact us.


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