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Build Your Own Brand, Not YouTube’s

Jun 30, 2008  •  Post A Comment

YouTube is not the most important online video distribution partner.
Sounds like a pretty crazy statement, right?
After all, Nielsen Online said YouTube delivered 3.8 billion video streams to 68 million unique visitors in May, more than 11 times the volume of its closest competitor.
Yet YouTube is not the most important online video distribution partner.
That statement sounds even loonier when you consider this fact: Hitwise reported just last week that YouTube accounted for 75% of all U.S. visits in May to video Web sites, with MySpace a distant second at 9%. What’s more, YouTube’s market share of visits to video sites rose 26% over last year, while MySpace’s fell 44%.
To top it off, YouTube also has a loyal audience: 82% of the site’s visitors in May were returning visitors from the prior month.
So if YouTube has a ridiculous lead over the competition and a vastly loyal audience, how could it not be the most important online video distribution partner?
Because the most important distribution partner for your show is your site. And that applies to the biggest television network and to the smallest Web series producer.
A broadcast network wants views on NBC.com, CBS.com, ABC.com or Fox.com, where it can sell the ads and build the brand and drive people to its other shows. Or it wants your views to come from Hulu, or maybe Yahoo Video or Comcast.net. Same goes for a Web-only series, like “Ask a Ninja,” “Diggnation,” “Moblogic.tv” or “The Retributioners.”
While the Hitwise data shows that YouTube is the most popular destination for consumers to find and view videos, most are going there for the viral video du jour, the latest music video, or maybe even great sketches from George Carlin, prompted by his recent death.
We go to YouTube when we don’t know what we want. We go there to surf, to look around, to see what others are talking about. Or we go there to find that “Grey’s Anatomy” clip from when George kissed Izzie in the elevator or the Halle Berry sex scene from “Monster’s Ball.”
But when we want to watch a show—the entire show—we usually go to that show’s site, be it a TV network show or a Web-only show site. That’s good for content creators, who can build their brands better on their own site and sell the ads better on their own sites.
That is why YouTube is not the most important online video distribution partner.

51 Comments

  1. I think that it is important for brands to utilize the positive effects social networking and video sharing is having on the internet community. Maybe when brands are showing a series on their own site other than Youtube they should try to incorporate social features into this so viewers don’t feel like they have to go else where?
    I think that brands will have to start to improve their sites and add in more Web 2.0 functionality if they want to retain viewers. http://www.brandstation.tv/

  2. While I agree that maybe its not just YouTube, I wonder how many views for Diggnation or Ask A Ninja come from their sites vs. all of their syndication partners. Do you any data one way or the other? Now that I have an Apple TV I watch as many of my web shows as possible from there and not the websites. I barely even go to WineLibraryTV anymore because the HD version of Gary is so much better on a 50 inch TV.

  3. by WE you mean YOU. lots of content is delivered via a RSS feed. meaning there is no site, portal or landing page. all the networks are taken out of it. it’s just the show. no verts, no noise. just the drama or the laughs.

  4. I’ve got a crystal ball.
    Wanna look?
    In the future, video will be ubiquitous. (love that word).
    It will be everywhere.
    You will have it on your site – demo’ing products, allowing comments, helping with customer service, building community.
    YouTube has done an amazing job kick starting this revolution – and they’ll enjoy rewards for being first and continuing to explore and innovate.
    But you’re totally right Daisy.
    Using video to build your brand means creating a meaningful video experience on your site, within your community.
    The revolution is coming. It’s going to change the way we make, engage, and share video.
    Giving your customers to the tools to make video part of your brand experience is quickly becoming essential.
    We’re returning now, from the future to the present. This preview has been brought to you by Magnify.net
    enjoy :)

  5. How about this?
    From the way you describe Youtube, it sounds an awful lot like the checkout of a grocery store with all the point of sale possibilities. Youtube could take advantage of the “not knowing what I want” mentality to sell people all kinds of things, especially if they started to keep track of where people where clicking on their site!

  6. Great comments! Thanks for the insight. And yes, I mean YOU…YOU need to market and brand your show. I’ll be posting some interesting feedback in my blog today from YouTube directly relating to this column…ties into the supermarket idea, John!

  7. Depending upon the objective of each particular online video that you publish, the most important distribution partner will vary. Start by asking and answering a few core questions:
    * What is the action or desired next step that seeing the video is intended to foster?
    * Who is the audience?
    * Where will they be most likely to view the video in the greatest numbers, or with the greatest impact?
    * How is the traffic built for the video?
    * What is the optimal pixels dimension, frame rate, and a/v bit rates for communicating the underlying message?
    * What are the premium streaming options, and are their costs justifiable/affordable?
    * Does the video have political messaging, overlays, ghosts, pre-rolls, post-rolls, embedded commercial content or product placements?
    * Is the video simply a centerpiece around which there will be (hopefully relevant) banners, skyscrapers, and other online ads that monetize your site?
    Once you know the answers to these, the most important online video distribution partner will emerge more clearly.

  8. good points Rich Reader.
    YT is a pretty good partner in the following regard:
    YT has a fairly robust programming interface, that allows you to embed youtube video into your own site rather seamlessly. (even their non-API embed capability is pretty useful!)
    They are important (at least, Very Useful:) in the sense that it’s currently possible to build a mash-up or a brand that utilizes YT as a “distribution partner”, with your site being the main hub for the activity surrounding the video.
    See:
    http://www.deeprockdrive.com/vault
    or many other sites that aggregate “best of” videos from other services…
    Steve — touche’ — maybe a more concise word than ubiquitous is “a commodity”?
    j(disclaimer — i work for DeepRockDrive — but that’s how i also knew to use us as an example)

  9. You can embed YouTube videos on your website now without the YouTube Branding on it
    http://youtubemonkey.com

  10. This is a great read.. thanks for the info!
    I was checking up on the topic and i also came across an article that listed out some of the most successful campaigns on youtube: http://blog.socialmaximizer.com/youtube-business-use-cases/

  11. This is a great read.. thanks for the info!
    I was checking up on the topic and i also came across an article that listed out some of the most successful campaigns on youtube: http://blog.socialmaximizer.com/youtube-business-use-cases/

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