Branded Content Also Counts Subscribers

I don’t think there’s much doubt that in the future, everything we watch online will come to us on via branded channels, and what’s more, we’ll like it.

Brands long ago got us to wear clothing with their names all over it. The NFL has gotten good at presenting its own news, which must minimize the bad publicity it gets (and the numerous we’re-bored-by-pro-football stories this season).

Looking at the general drift, by now getting consumers to subscribe to a video channel branded by their favorite beverage, athletic shoe or automobile shouldn’t be as much of a challenge as it’s often presented to be.

Everybody’s doing it.

Divimove, a native media company based in Berlin with operations all around, began charting branded channels, and concluded only 11% of the “top brands” don’t have at least one. Most of those channels are in China.

Tellingly, Divimove says 41% of brands had their channel up and running by 2007, which was YouTube’s third year in business, so they saw a good thing and hopped on it.

“What do the Girl Scouts, Harley Davidson, Chanel, Red Bull and Walmart have in common? They all have thriving YouTube channels” notes YouTube itself, on a Web page aimed to woo brands to get into the game.  “A YouTube channel makes your videos easy to watch and enjoy, in a vibrant space with your own look and feel. It's the best video solution for any business -- and it's free! All you need to get started is your first video.”

Often, “free” is what they’re worth. But there are branded channels that make a difference.

Best in the biz? Divimove divvied up channels into consumer business sectors so there are several answers. Red Bull (of course) for beverages, with 5.6 million subscribers, is far better off  than the second place finisher, Coca Cola, with just. 1.1 million (but showing growth of 60% in the last year).

BMW leads all carmakers, Victoria’s Secret is best in retail, McDonald’s tops other fast food places, and Geico beats all comers in the financial services category. Media companies are too simple--it’s their business to be good at this. So Warner Bros’ 3.6 million subscribers excites me not. Fuller lists on Medium tell the story.

One of the troubles with some industries’ video efforts is that they don’t stay with it. I always have the suspicion car companies, beyond their technology and design departments, are not the brightest bulbs in the business world.

Put another log on that fire.”The automobiles industry has a relatively large amount of inconsistent channels,” this report says. “They often upload a wave of content when a new product gets released, with larger pauses in between.”

A chart shows that half of the car companies’ channels are either “inconsistent” with the uploading of content, or have abandoned them altogether, worst among all categories.

One thing Divimove makes clear is that it’s not video views that count. “Measuring success for branded channels is different from measuring success for 'regular' user-generated channels on YouTube. Video views are much less telling. This is because many brands use their channel as an upload platform for their pre-roll campaigns (i.e. the advertisement campaigns that are played before any monetized video on the site). These views are paid for and should be discounted when measuring the organic success of a channel. Subscribers are therefore a much more relevant metric for the achievements of a branded channel.”

Brands, in essence, are competing with PewDiePie and the Kardashians, but by now, that seems perfectly normal.  And now it is.

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