Social Butterfly Throws a Party
Never in the history of the Internet has any site had as much exponential growth or as speedy an exit strategy as YouTube.
Founded in February 2005 and purchased by Google in November 2006 for $1.76 billion, YouTube is the go-to site for video-based entertainment. It delivers more than 100 million video views every day, with 65,000 new videos uploaded daily, Google reports. YouTube ranked third among all Web sites for the number of unique visitors, with 28.3 million, according to comScore Media Metrix. “People continue to gravitate toward YouTube because it’s easy to jump from channel to channel,” explains James Kiernan, vice president and group director at MediaVest. “They channel surf in it. Get lost in it. I would agree that, especially this past year, they are one of the breakout success stories online.”
Videos for Sony’s Bravia TV line and Smirnoff’s “Tea Partay,” which each logged more than a million views, helped marketers understand YouTube’s potential for reaching consumers in a visceral way. Today, you can search for almost any brand on YouTube and you’re bound to find a video for it, created by marketers or consumer-generated.
As Google attempts to turn its new property into a revenue-generator, we’ve already started to see YouTube conducting business with a broader scope. It’s filtered profanity from its home page to please advertisers and is offering more sponsored content opportunities. Last November, Google announced YouTube’s first (but certainly not its last) mobile deal with Verizon Wireless.
Of course, YouTube’s rise won’t be a hockey stick climb forever. There are copyright issues and some tough competitors to deal with (e.g., the major TV networks), as well as the ongoing challenge of maintaining uniqueness and creativity. But in the time it took for this article to reach your fingertips, you can be sure we will have already seen some new YouTube revenue opportunities in play, perhaps via a Google AdSense area or pre-roll ads.
Other entertainment sites doing a good job of creating engaged social experiences online include AOL, with its exclusive songs, concerts, videos, and clips from TV shows; NationalLampoon.com, which is working on becoming the Internet’s humor network; Yahoo, whose online news show “The 9” is getting some buzz; and MTV.com. MTV’s Overdrive channel added a lot of exclusive content in 2006, and shows no signs of slowing down this year. All of these sites could break out of the pack as they continue to understand and meet the challenges of the way consumers use the Internet.