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YouTube Acting Just Like A TV Network, Axing Channels That Don’t Get Enough Viewers

By 11.12.12

You might remember at the start of the year, YouTube announced that it was launching 160 channels of original content. Basically, they were turning into a TV network.

And now, they’re acting like one! Namely by canning more than half of those channels and keeping all the money from leaving the content they paid for on the site. Unlike a network, though, it won’t be how much money those channels make that determine who gets renewed.

In fact, what YouTube is looking at is pretty telling, in terms of the site’s strategy:

Jamie Byrne, YouTube’s director of content strategy, says the site is most concerned about engagement — primarily the total “watch time” a channel has generated — and cost — how efficient programmers have been with their programming budget.

So, basically the more eyeballs you draw, and the more you hold them there, and the more cheaply you do it, the more likely your YouTube funded channel is to get more money.

YouTube is seemingly fighting a bit of an uphill battle. Investing $200 million in original content is a good idea, albeit a hard one for a site that’s still figuring out how to make more money on hosting billions of hours of content. But it’s a matter of getting user attention. YouTube’s problem is that users can spend thousands putting together a superb video only to have it beaten by, well, THIS:

So, yeah. That’s a problem.


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