November 24, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Is YouTube the Next TV Network?

Is YouTube the Next TV Network?

YouTube, known for taking the thunder away from America’s Funniest Videos with painful crotch and overly cute kitten videos has opened the door for citizen journalism. This may be the only way we can get away from the so-called “news” stories of celebrity affairs. That’s not what the Google-owned video platform had in mind with YouTube Direct.

YouTube has enabled video storytelling of every type to be shared around the world. It has served to entertain, inform and sometimes, get people in trouble. Now, media outlets can use YouTube Direct as a platform to provide all the power of YouTube and its users directly to a broadcast outlet.

According to the YouTube Direct site, “News organizations can ask for citizen reporting; nonprofits can call-out for support videos around social campaigns; businesses can ask users to submit promotional videos about your brand. With YouTube Direct, the opportunities to connect directly with the YouTube community are endless.” And yes, it’s free.

Journalism is now an art desperately trying to find a new way to fund itself and leverage new technology. This could be a step towards a solution.

The newsrooms and businesses will have a way to approve and edit the videos as well as contact the person who uploaded the video content. The original person who submitted the video retains the copyright ownership of the content.

This is the best and worst of all possible worlds – at the same time. It will give everyday people the opportunity to be journalists, and give journalists a reason to question why they went to school for journalism. And everyone is wondering how to make a living in the new model.

This may change the role of a journalist from news-gatherer to news fact-checker and editor. But that still doesn’t address the money issue.

Jeff Jarvis of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York and author of WWGD (What Would Google Do) has long advocated for a “link economy” rather than a pay-for-content model. Jarvis, at a CUNY-hosted conference explained the needed change. “The link economy: One copy, many links. What this requires of us is to be very open, very searchable, to open our drawers completely to Google and be found that way… we take advantage of the links. He who has the links has to monetize.”

The truth is that we, the consumers are, responsible for the change. We want news our way and sometimes we don’t even want the news.

In a recent presentation, Lee Rainie of the Pew Research Center pointed to 12 ways the consumer has changed the face of news, and our enabler is the Internet.

Included in the data is that 19 percent of adults get no news in a given day. When they do, they spend less time with analyzing the news and have less trust in the organizations that serve it.

In 2009, while most people still get their news from television (71 percent), for the first time, a growing number of people now get their news from the Internet rather than newspapers (42 percent to 33 percent). A whopping 70 percent of 25-49 year olds are the largest consumers of online news.

The mobile explosion is expediting the change as we demand the stories we want, where and when we want them. The New Year will feature explosive growth in m-commerce (or mobile e-commerce), as more people turn to get their phones for the news. A growing number are using social networks on their phones to stay connected to the latest stories in a way where the pertinent news follows them.

Industry numbers say that eight percent of users have a smart phone. Within the next 12 months, that number will grow to 22 percent – and based on the Android (Google) explosion and new G4 Apple iPhones due in Q3 2010, that may be a conservative growth number.

Expect more robust content (video, audio, etc.) on your phones. And smile, everyone with a phone is a potential journalist.

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