Take YouTube Red. The $9.99 month service is competing with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. At the recent MIPCOM conference in France, YouTube executives said it wasn’t going after those OTT viewers in the same way.
Susanne Daniels, global head of content for YouTube, said YouTube Red wouldn’t be doing what Netflix or Amazon do -- that is bringing “TV to digital.” Instead, she said it would “let our community drive our content.”
At the event, it announced new TV efforts from actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and producers/directors Doug Liman and Dan Harmon. Johnson has 1.3 million subscribers to his YouTube channel; he will executive produce a new half-hour action series, “Lifeline,” about a life insurance company sending agents forward 33 days in time to prevent the accidental deaths of its clients.
Doug Liman (“Bourne Identity”) is doing a new sci-thriller about a young girl who discovers her ability to teleport away from danger. Dan Harmon (“Community”) is working on a half-hour comedy about a eSports players trying to make it to the top in the cutthroat world of competitive gaming.
YouTube Red wants to be “uniquely” YouTube. But what is that exactly? Sounds like much of this has to do with previous expectations of on-screen talent (Johnson) or off-screen producers (Liman and Harmon). All three having a big following on YouTube.
Plus, it’s a following that all viewers/users can see when it comes to “views” of a specific piece of content.
Does Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu do this? No. Just the opposite is true -- especially for the biggest and most vocal in this area -- Netflix. This data has long remained private and proprietary for company; data, in which it can give the go ahead for new TV series (comedy/drama), theatrical movies, and/or documentary, or ending a production.
In this digital age, what value do we put on the importance of other people viewing stuff in large numbers? If you say “a lot,” then what about those OTT platforms who don’t do this? Are they missing out?
Perhaps we might just learn to look at traditional TV programs. You know, the ones where TV viewers can find out the Nielsen viewing ratings of their favorite shows the next day.