If you haven't yet launched a YouTube channel or augmented the one you've got, this is definitely the time to dive in.
"You are more than the sum of your uploads."
This is how YouTube begins its description of One Channel, the online video giant's new channel redesign - and it couldn't be more bang on. If you haven't heard, YouTube has been testing its new channel theme for several months now. On June 5, though, it started migrating all existing YouTube video channels to the upgraded design and its bounty of new features.
It's been a big quarter for YouTube. Last month the Google-owned video network announced that it would be offering content developers the opportunity to switch their video channels from free to fee. The model would allow video creators to monetize their content and keep viewers coming back for more. With some 50 paid channels launched to date (pilot programming for now), the options for consumers currently range from PGA Digital Golf Academy to National Geographic Kids - each one available for a monthly fee.
YouTube's new One Channel design takes this strategy a step further by making it easier for brands to showcase their content and attract new subscribers (you have the venue for your show, but now you need to dress it up for the crowds). One Channel's offerings include the ability to scale channel art for multiple screen sizes and devices, curate content from other channels to enhance your own, and create a video content trailer that's displayed to non-subscribers in order to generate new sign-ups.
Digital agencies and marketing companies are readying themselves to help clients ease the transition and make the most of the switch. "YouTube is making major changes to the platform to drive subscriptions and provide a better multi-device viewing experience," says Sophia Scleparis, head of audience development with online video distribution company Rightster. "Gone are the days when YouTube was simply a place for consumers to watch videos of skateboarding dogs and sneezing babies."
As a YouTube multi-channel network (MCN), and in response to YouTube's newest move, Rightster is optimizing its content creation, monetization, and video channel management services by adopting a new pricing model. Brands that work with the company get access to a team of experts, video SEO, advertising opportunities, and monthly performance reports, while Rightster gets a fee on the ad and sponsorship inventory it sells on a brand's behalf. Rightster's category networks include Fashion, Music, Sports, News, Entertainment, and Viral.
If there's one digital media trend we've seen emerge as a powerhouse this year thus far, it has to be branded content. Videos in particular can elicit a deep and impassioned response from consumers, and create an enormous amount of brand buzz. But many of them are one-off efforts that stand alone; they're watched and shared, yes, but that's often where the connection between brand and viewer ends.
In addition to viewing behavior increasingly moving toward multiple devices, Rightster says subscribers are now spending twice as long on YouTube as they used to. They're coming back more often, and their viewing sessions are getting longer. Paid content channels, with their ability to build ongoing viewing relationships with consumers, stand to capitalize on this pattern. Scalable channel art, meanwhile, will ensure consistency across all screens. Imagine what your brand could accomplish with a video channel that has a steady audience of subscribers? Better yet, imagine having this channel optimized for you by YouTube, the leading authority on online video?
YouTube is onto something with paid channels and its One Channel design, both of which come at a time when video content and online TV are in high demand. If you haven't yet launched a YouTube channel or augmented the one you've got, this is definitely the time to dive in.
Tessa Wegert is a business reporter and former media strategist specializing in digital. In addition to writing for ClickZ since 2002, she has contributed to such publications as USA Today, Marketing Magazine, Mashable, and The Globe and Mail. Tessa manages marketing and communications for Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy agencies servicing such brands as Bioré, Food Network, illy, and Hunter Douglas. She has been working in online media since 1999.
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