As hinted last month, YouTube is expanding its social sharing options with a number of novel features grouped under a new “Community” tab, currently in beta but eventually coming to all YouTube channels.
The YouTube Community tab, which resembles a Facebook-style news feed for video producers, gives video producers and viewers the ability to communicate through formats including text, images, videos and animated GIFs. It allows fans to see all the posts from video creators they’re following on YouTube grouped together in the “Subscription” feed, and they can also choose to receive alerts whenever a creator posts a new video. The timeline feature displays content from their various subscriptions in chronological order.
Some YouTube mavens noted that the quick communication functions offered by Community may make other functions obsolete, including YouTube’s “Announcement” feature, which allowed video bloggers to send brief messages to followers without having to upload a whole video.
YouTube owner Google doubtless hopes the new features will help recapture some of the social sharing activity for videos that currently takes place on other social platforms, most notably Facebook and Twitter.
YouTube faces growing competition from Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms in online video generally and live video in particular. This summer Facebook revealed it is spending $50 million to get around 140 companies and celebs to use Facebook Live, the social network’s streaming video service, now available to all its 1.7 billion monthly users. As of the first half of this year, Facebook users were already watching around 100 million hours of video daily in newsfeeds, or about half of YouTube, which claims its audience consumes six billion hours of video per month, or roughly 200 million hours of video per day.Last month Twitter said it would share a percentage of the advertising revenue gained from videos created by individual users in the United States that run them on the platform. Twitter’s Amplify Publisher Program lets approved creators in the U.S. monetize their videos by “checking a box” prior to Tweeting. Pre-roll ads will run against the content and a portion of the ad revenue (70%) shared with creator.