Staff Writer: Brjden Crewe
When it comes to the Internet, there are a number of sites and technologies that have truly been game changers. When Jeff Bezos founded Amazon.com in 1994, he started an etail revolution that would eventually put the fear of God into brick and mortar retailers. In 1995 eBay was founded, which would change the face of auctioning forever. Then on September 4 of the following year, a pair of enterprising Stanford University students named Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google, the search engine that would later go onto dominate web search.
Along the way, technologies came and went. Online empires (such as Netscape) rose and fell. It wasn’t until February of 2005 that three former PayPal employees named Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim started YouTube.com. A little more than a year later, on October 9, 2006, it was announced that the company would be purchased by Google for $1.65 billion in stock. And the rest is history.
Just to give you some idea of the lightning fast growth of YouTube, you have to keep in mind that from the start, the video portal was one of the fastest growing sites online. Even though it had started less than a year before, by the summer of 2006, YouTube was already ranked by Alexa as the Internet’s 5th most visited website. According to a July 16, 2006 survey, 100 million video clips were already being viewed daily on YouTube, with an additional 65,000 new videos being uploaded every 24 hours. This was the same year that Time Magazine featured a YouTube screen with a large mirror as its annual ‘Person of the Year.’ By May 2011, YouTube reported in its company blog that the site was receiving more than three billion views per day. In January 2012, YouTube stated that the figure had increased to four billion videos streamed per day.
4 Billion Viewers Can’t All Be Wrong
One of the reasons that YouTube has garnered so many viewers is due to the fact that not only is it owned and operated by the world’s most visited search engine (Google), but it has also created a number of strategic alliances with broadcast, mobile and gaming companies.
YouTube entered into a marketing and advertising partnership with NBC in June 2006. In November 2008, YouTube reached an agreement with MGM, Lions Gate Entertainment, and CBS, allowing the companies to post full-length films and television episodes on the site. A TiVo service update in July 2008 allowed the system to search and play YouTube videos. In January 2009, YouTube launched “YouTube for TV,” a version of the website tailored for set-top boxes and other TV-based media devices with web browsers, initially allowing its videos to be viewed on the PlayStation 3 and Wii video game consoles. Some smartphones are capable of accessing YouTube videos, dependent on the provider and the data plan. YouTube Mobile was launched in June 2007, using RTSP streaming for the video.
What this has done is made YouTube the most watched TV station on the planet. Better still, it is the world’s most democratic TV station, since all programming is on-demand, with viewership solely at the discretion of the public. Best of all, for programmers, this is one Super Station that is free of charge. Anyone with a video can set up an account and begin streaming content without charge of any kind. What started off as a repository for shaky camera work and stupid cat tricks has evolved into a place where fledgling TV producers, wanna be TV moguls and savvy entrepreneurs can create, grow and interact with an almost limitless audience.
That in itself has spawned a flurry of web series, some created by professionals and others started by rank amateurs. Of the latter, a number of series created by the public have created something of a cult following. Some of the top producing series tout millions of viewers per week and compete head on with network fare.
Top 10 Series on YouTube 2011:
Other notables include The Annoying Orange and Mystery Guitar-man.
So how does this rock your world? More importantly, how does it relate to building your business online? In the first place, YouTube videos are a great way to promote your business and your products to the masses. It’s a proven fact that people online would rather be shown than told about most any subject. It’s also a proven fact that people are 5 times as likely to click on a video as a website. SEO aside, with a little imagination and follow through, Web TV could be a game changing way to promote your business.
With a Little Help from Your Friends
While many businesses today have created a smattering of YouTube videos, what most haven’t realized is that the door is wide open for entrepreneurs to create Web TV series around their businesses. For years Cable broadcasters have been turning contractors into TV stars by creating reality TV series that focus on such things as buying and selling homes, chefs, loggers, fishermen and even pawn shop owners, just to name a few. A number of these people have become stars in their own right. All of them have seen a quantum leap in their businesses.
You Don’t Have to Wait for Hollywood to Come Calling
Currently the public clearly has an insatiable appetite for video, whether online or on TV. While it is a real boon for those lucky few business people who have been deemed worthy of the attention of cable TV, in reality you don’t have to wait for Hollywood to come knocking at your door. With a little bit of creativity and staying power, it is now possible for individuals and businesses to create and broadcast their own reality shows, talk shows, and variety shows that can be used to leverage huge audiences.
All you have to do to take advantage of this opportunity is answer this simple question: “What do I do in my business that would be of interest to the public?”
Bear in mind that major TV series have been created by having the public watch paint dry and bricks be laid. (This Old House.) Everyone from lobstermen to lumberjacks have been turned into TV stars. All it took was finding the drama, the conflict and sometimes the controversy in these blue collar businesses. If you want to create a sustainable series, this (and humor) is what you need to tap. Then you need to produce four short episodes per month and you are in the game.
While creating an episode per week sounds like a daunting task at first, take heart. Unlike network television, with Web TV less is more. Most of the top ranking YouTube series offer microcasts of 2-5 minutes in length. Production values are limited and with a few exceptions acting skills are also simplistic at best. Even the technology used to produce most series is quite basic in nature. What this means is if you can dig deep and tap into the drama of your workaday existence and bring it to the masses on a weekly basis, then Web TV could literally change your world as you know it.