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Is YouTube Broken?
For the last decade –or so- video is synonymous to Youtube. Everything we upload in video format seems to end up there. And that’s part of the problem.
YouTube as the go-to platform for video content, has a “highly-engaged, highly-loyal user segment” among millennials and this hardly comes as a surprise. TV (or at least the TV as earlier generations knew it) is slowly dying and YT and other video platforms on demand, from Netflix and Amazon TV, to the just-out-of-the box Instagram TV etc. have filled the gap.
And it’s quite ok, some of the greatest content on video-form is on YT, a medium that attracts a wide span of people from toddlers on kids’ channels to high level explanations on quantum mechanics and space exploration.
YT, is not just an entertainment channel. In 2017, “70% of millennial YouTube users watched YouTube to learn how to do something new or learn more about something they're interested in” so not all is that bad. Is it?
Well yes and no.
See, YT has some fundamental flows, along with some great features that come with being the largest video streaming service on planet earth, and on planet internet as well with close to a billion unique users visiting at least once a month.
Oh my God!
YT is noisy. If you’re not fixed on what it is you’re looking for, you could spend hours trying to find decent content. Three hundred hours of video are uploaded to YT every minute. Cat videos, music videos, news videos, personal videos, online courses, gaming videos, an endless number of tutorials on anything, from putting on makeup to photo editing, the list never ends.
How can one find his content of choice in this ocean of mostly irrelevant, time-consuming and useless information?
Add to that, the search bar filter is pretty basic – the basic stuff is there like video duration, or upload date – but it lacks in detail and meticulousness. The algorithms mays show for example the most watched video about digital marketing. But is it the best video? Is it the highest quality video? And most importantly, is this the video that is right for me?
As far as content creators are concerned, in YT’s early days, a quiet revolution broke, democratizing the video medium. Unlike a TV show, one did not have to audition to get in front of a camera, as anybody could do it. And the best of them content creators did and moved on to attract millions of fans with their high-value content. But on stage-two, they realized that their fans, the subscribers were not really theirs for the taking but belonged to the platform. And the platform did not really like to share. So they moved on to monetize their content indirectly, particularly on their websites.
It is not uncommon even for superstars of YT to display checks with four digits. I’m not so sure that this is particularly rewarding for someone with hundreds of thousands or even millions of subscribers. But that’s just me.
Come on already, show me my video.
Even the big data driven suggestions based on what one has seen and what’s trending on one’s region, are kind of lame and far behind competitors like Netflix – to be fair, Netflix is revolutionizing predicting what its users will like. And this is all reasonable when the content available is literally billions of videos.
Is this Google’s fault? Nobody can really know for sure.
But what we do believe is that YT could be fixed. And we have an idea or two on how this can be accomplished.