By a show of hands, who regularly watches content from YouTube’s so-called channels? You know, the channels partly funded by YouTube with the goal to make YouTube more like traditional television. So hands up. No one? Yeah, that’s about right.
Last October, YouTube announced a major push towards original, high-quality content with a slew of partnerships with top web video producers. YouTube said at launch the goal of these channels is to “[give] you more reasons to keep coming back again and again”. But it’s time to trim the fat. And just like in traditional television, the underperforming content will not be renewed — YouTube is only reinvesting in 40% of its original deals. YouTube originally invested up to $5 million in each content channel. Clearly a good chunk of the channels failed to return a profit.
As AllThingsD reports, channels that do not make the cut will not get booted off YouTube, but will simply not receive an investment from Google. YouTube will also continue collecting revenue from underperforming channels until its investment is completely recouped. Watch time was the primary metric to determine if a channel was renewed — if no one is watching the channel, then it wasn’t making money.
YouTube, and with that, channels on YouTube, is a big push for Google. Without original, high-quality content, YouTube is simply a video portal to watch Gangnam Style or nonsense like this. It’s going to take time to curate a batch of web video providers to rival cable TV, but it can happen. And to expect anything less is to fail to understand the power of the Internet.