Since Google acquired YouTube in 2005, they wanted it to be the synonym for online video. As of today, the video portal is one of the most popular websites on the world wide web, only second to Google’s search engine. This is at least what the Alexa ranking for Internet websites states.
Please consider this article as my personal opinion, incorporating data and facts, to back up my point of view. I invite you to share your own opinion with us below in the comment section. I would love to know what you’re thinking about this subject.
Video killed the everything-star
If you look further into our lifestyle and culture, this trend will not change anytime soon. Google will fortify their role in the media and your home. Their consumption statistics will only go up. Google is doing extremely well in predicting both short-lived and sustainable trends. The user data of world’s most popular search engine helps a lot with that task and supports the data-driven decision making.
For instance, they don’t hope for the mainstream video to grow on its own just like it is. Google is preparing mainstream entertainment to enter new levels. They work on YouTube to enable support of 3D video, 360° video content and designed new VR headset concepts focused on user experience and comfort. They do this because they know, entertainment must be comfortable. Being hooked up to cables and machines isn’t fun and will never become a mainstream entertainment format.
Video-on-Demand was overlooked for long
However, for too long, Google had been sitting on their user-created content. What a great business model, I sell ads for content that others create and give the users a piece of the cake. That might be sustainable, but it also has a lot of risk in it.
After Amazon Prime Video has proven to be a great success, you can now also buy movies and series packs to watch them on Google’s YouTube. Did you know that? Google does not broadly advertise this, but you can do that. If you previously bought video content on the Google Play Store, those are now available for you on the YouTube platform. If you’re curious whether or not you have such content on your account, check this “Purchases” page.
Streaming just in time
Ok, on the other side, YouTube was right on time with allowing users to live-stream their content to remain competitive to streaming companies focused around servicing gamers to stream their play and commentary. YouTube for Gamers was implemented and is directly attacking competitors like Microsoft Beam (a.k.a. Mixer) and Twitch. Even the NASA is streaming video feed live from outer space. Feels like the future, right?
Why restrict yourself so much, Google?
The UX design of YouTube is primarily focused on people staying on the tab to watch the video content or keep the YouTube app active in the front, on the smartphone. If you go out of the app, into another app or put your device on standby, the video content will stop. This should not be an issue for watching videos, but, wait for it, there is a significant number of users who are there just to listen to music. They don’t stay in the active video tab, they just kick up their favorite clips and those play for a couple of hours.
These “mixtape” videos could be 8 hours long or longer and contain high-quality music selections. Usually, they have little to no visual content in them, as even the creators of such know, their audience cares mostly about audio. What does that mean to the ad model of YouTube? It might force them to think about audio ads more and more. That combined with the user-to-user streaming situation we are in, this could quickly develop (or degenerate) into a platform for radio broadcasts with all that ad jingles, you know and love (or hate).
What’s left to be king of the hill?
I believe that Google could have a good shot at dominating media streaming and rich content competitors if they broke down these limitations and leveraged the trends. Nurturing the music culture and adding in functionalities from Google Play Music and extending the premium subscription services like YouTube Red and the subscription for listening to music that you haven’t bought.
Google needs adjustments to their strategy. If they combined their services into one killer content platform and managed to bill it directly over premium subscriptions or cover costs with advertising, they could have a good chance to crush competition like Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, SoundCloud, and other streaming platforms.
Perhaps Google didn’t have a good shot at social networking, but they definitely have great chances to make the race on content and media streaming. Watch out for it to happen. You might end up loving their solution.
Whether you agree or oppose the article, I’d love to read your thoughts below in the comment section. I’m looking forward to hear from you!