Commentary

Will YouTube Become The First Search Destination?

Lady-Gaga

At the Google ThinkMovie event in Hollywood, Calif. on Tuesday, the Mountain View, Calif. tech company released research. Debra Schwartz, Google analyst, presented it. I touched on some of this in the two pieces published Wednesday in Online Media Daily, but I'd like to elaborate on one specific finding I believe is relevant for a variety of industries -- not just movies.

The section of the report I want to address discusses engaging audiences beyond the category of movie to broaden relationships with consumers through each title. It reads: "Consumers with a moderate level of awareness of new movie releases oftentimes search for terms like 'movies,' 'new movie releases,' and 'new trailers'." Despite the abundance of generic movie search terms, the trend to search on these words grew at a 22% compounded annual growth rate from 2006 to 2009. In 2010, Google witnessed a 3% decline for generic movie search terms.

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Although generic search terms fell in 2010, searches for specific movie trailers rose. In fact, searches for specific movies grew 51%. This means that consumers show less interest in learning about a variety of available movies and seek out specific movie titles and trailers. Perhaps they see an advertising campaign on a billboard or on television, and then turn to the search engines or YouTube to see a clip or read a review. It's not unlike strategies for other brands.

Google data suggests that the increase in search volume on brand trailer terms equals 2.4 times the decrease in the volume of generic movie terms. While searches for generic movie terms continued to drop on google.com in 2010, they rose 27% on YouTube.

Will YouTube become the first choice for consumers searching on specific information? The company will need to streamline its distribution channel to make content easier to find. At least that's what movie studio executives hope will happen. And an impromptu dialog between Malik Ducard, director of content partnerships at Google, during his presentation and a couple of event attendees might lead some to believe it's in the works.

YouTube now represents 15% of search volume for generic movie terms across Google properties -- up from 11 in the prior year, according to Google internal data. Overall, there are 2 billion daily playbacks on YouTube, according to Shiva Rajaraman, group product manager at YouTube. On every Tuesday when there's a new episode of "Glee," YouTube sees a spike in searches related to the music associated with that show, he told ThinkMovie attendees.

Rajaraman said YouTube has become a starting point to discover content. There are 400 Twitter tweets per minute containing a link to a YouTube video, and 500 million daily views of videos off YouTube sites. He pointed to an interview with Lady Gaga at Google's headquarters and her ability to market her brand by simply being herself. The singer's YouTube channel has more than 20 million monthly unique views, more than any television show. Some collections of videos for other YouTube authors have more monthly unique views than the Super Bowl. It's about capturing trends and creating relevant content.

A dashboard on YouTube can help identify trends. The dashboard will sort information by most-shared or most-viewed videos, as well as location, gender, and age groups. The trends dashboard could help to identify interests and intent. For those who want the answer to yesterday's question: I'm digital movie content presented at the Google ThinkMovie event in Tinseltown. Happy analyzing!

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