If you loved Karate Kidas a child, then you probably watched YouTube’s revival of the franchise, titled “Cobra Kai,” with great interest. You weren’t alone. In fact, the first episode was considered a raging success, with more than 50 million views in just five months. Analysts were heralding YouTube as Netflix’s challenger in the original content space and predicting huge profits from new YouTube shows in the future.
Then, to everyone’s surprise, YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl made an announcement that could change everything for Netflix, Amazon, and every other production company hoping to make money in the paid-watching space. Kyncl announced YouTube would make original shows ad-supported rather than charging. Kyncl said the move will help YouTube “focus on creators and artists and their ability to find their audience and their ability to monetize that engagement.” He concluded, “We do work with media companies…but what is driving our platform…is creators and artists.” Essentially, YouTube has to create an environment where content creators can thrive or it will never create enough content to meet demand on its own.
This announcement was interesting from a content strategy viewpoint for several reasons:
In further explanation about the move to free content, Klync said YouTube now has three pillars: personalities and music, which have long been present, and a third, learning. The company plans to spend a large portion of its marketing budget “leaning in” to this third pillar in 2019, and that means that you, like YouTube, can predict that offering valuable, actionable, educational content could be a big draw for your website.
Klync said, “In the market today, every media company [is] racing to put up a paywall and put much of the content behind it, which means with every year, there will be less and less opportunity to put advertising next to content.” His belief is that YouTube will attract high volumes of advertising dollars by making content free to viewers. It remains to be seen if this is correct, but if Klync is right, then tailoring your content strategy to permit non-competitive ads could be a good way to stand out from other service providers in your sector.
So, does all this mean that you need to start looking to YouTube chief business advisor Klync for all your strategic content decisions? Of course not! You are likely not operating as large a platform as YouTube, and your audience is probably different (and face it, smaller) as well. However, knowing what a huge company like YouTube is considering when designing its content strategy can help you optimize your own. Watching large companies for moves affecting how users pay for services and how the company brands itself can provide exciting insight into how your niche in the online sector might evolve in the coming months and years.
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