At some point in the past six or so months our department started doing short presentations. I’m pretty fine with it. I like public speaking and there’s literally no pressure. It doesn’t matter. It’s invariably an attempt to get us to do research on the industry and maybe teach others? I dunno. I don’t really care. At the same time I’ve been pointed in the direction of looking at what Youtube Premium is doing. it’s kinda interesting.
First off, I looked into the Youtube Creative Academy. Youtube has lengthy tutorials and classes for burgeoning creators. They teach the type of content that gets views and suggest how to make your content more marketable. In a sense it’s taking what works and getting more of that. It’s stuff like people enjoy tutorials or relatable topics. Make your stuff relateable. Be consistent, target specific niche audiences, follow ideas that allow you to sustainably create more of the same, make it so people can jump in at any point. Trite as it sounds, it’s actually pretty good advice.
In one sense it’s restrictions breed creativity. Giving a pre-set series of rules that help creators think in a certain proven way. In other, it allows them to test those boundaries and find out what works. The question of whether or not it helps encourage more creative content is moot. What Youtube is doing is pretty risk free. It’s putting resources in the hands of hopeful creatives and letting them make content. If the content does well, it’s drawing more eyeballs towards their service and bringing in advertisers. Once it reaches a certain level, Youtube can offer Youtube Premium contracts to creators with a proven audience. The burden is on the creators to do what they can with what they have. Aside from initial instruction, they’ve created a self-sustaining framework.
Youtube Premium is the rebranding of what was known as Youtube Red. It’s $11.99 a month, gives you ad-free Youtube, offline downloads, background play (stuff doesn’t stop playing while you’re in other apps or you turn your screen off) Youtube Music and original content. At the moment their big stuff seems to be proven IP. They’ve got a Karate Kid spinoff Cobra Kai, a teen lit adaptation Impulse, and a Step Up TV show.
Youtube Premium has series orders involving big names and it’s not just super broad stuff. Weird City is a sci fi comedy anthology series (think a lighter Black Mirror) exec produced by Jordan Peele and Adam Bernstein (Fargo and much more), and a dark comedy about a water park employee rising to the top a pyramid scheme starring Kirsten Dunst. Projects starring Susan Sarandon, Will Smith and Robert Downey Jr are also in the pipeline. They have 50 original shows being released in 2019.
One of the advantages Youtube Premium has is bringing a cluster of services together under one roof. It’s handy for families like Netflix, but also extends to music service and on-the-go public transit content. Would you really need Netflix and Spotify if Youtube Music is included? Cutting the ads from Youtube is not negligible either. It’s bundled into a package that balances affordability and convenience. The advantage for Youtube with premium is it allows a bunch of their pillars to come together without solely relying on one. They don’t need to keep pumping money into cultivating new series, it’s value added.
It’s tricky though, because at the same time, people don’t like paying for things. If they can just keep using youtube and they already have Spotify/Netflix, it’s gonna be hard to get them to switch over. Quitting something you’ve already invested in is a hard sell. Will people get both Netflix and Youtube Premium? Would you? It seems like the goal is to tip the scales just enough to bring people over.
They’ve also launched Youtube TV, which could bring everything in house. It’s a monthly cost for all the ABC and Fox stable of channels, but totally unbundled from cable. It seems like I’m totally shilling here, but I’m genuinely interested in this service now. The OTT model makes a bunch of sense. Like Walmart trying to put local businesses out of order, the big bloated TV corporations are gonna have trouble competing with these global entities. I mean, I work at one, I’ve seen the writing on the wall for a while now. The big question, is it all sustainable? Netflix is burning money putting out original content. Will their subscriber base eventually justify it? Can they amortise this? I’m genuinely curious to see where it’s all going. From my perspective at least, the medium isn’t dying, it’s shifting.
Is it finally time for me to jump ship into podcasting professionally? I wish.