How YouTube is becoming the next MGM
In the past few years, online streaming websites (such as Netflix or Amazon Video) have been stepping up their game, and YouTube is no exception. What was once a platform on which to watch the latest Soulja Boi music video is now home to unique content with increasingly high production value.
Anyone can go to YouTube.com and start watching videos willy-nilly. But, if you would like to start following specific channels or commenting on videos, you need to sign up for a YouTube account. It is totally free, so you may as well just go for it. Once you have an account, YouTube automatically gives you a channel. With this channel, you could upload your own content that other people can watch, or like me, you could do absolutely nothing with it. If you do upload videos, however, and people like what they see, they can subscribe to your channel. This means that whenever you post new content, it will be sent directly to them. This is where things start to get interesting.
Because people with YouTube accounts can selectively choose who to subscribe to or what they want to watch, obviously some channels are more popular than others. Some channels even have millions of subscribers, queue Dr. Evil, “I will laser beam the world unless you give me 1 million subscribers.” As such, there are some videos with billions (yes, billions) of views.
YouTube, like the rest of the Google-mothership, is awesome at making money. Videos that get a lot of traffic are often proceeded by ads. This means that all of those commercials you thought you broke up with post-TiVo are back with a vengeance. It also means that some YouTube channels are extremely lucrative. Because of this, more and more people are creating vlogs (video blogs) with increasingly high production value in order to stay competitive.
As such, YouTube, being brilliant beyond compare, has recently launched nine “YouTube Spaces” around the world. YouTube Spaces are essentially top-of-the-line film studios that any channel with 10,000 followers or more can use for free. At the YouTube Spaces, vloggers have access to production equipment, cutting edge classes, advanced screenings, and are able to collaborate with their peers in the field. They have also launched an upgrade to their main page called “YouTube Red” on which they offer uninterrupted streaming and original shows.
YouTube, like every other media platform, is changing and upgrading at a rapid rate. YouTube is putting out increasingly original content with high production value that is making money. Definitely something to keep your eyes on.
Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.