April 30, 2015
Amid growing competition in the online video space, Google’s YouTube is trying to hang onto its lead by supporting some of the platform’s biggest stars. The platform will back long-form original series from the Fine Brothers, Prank vs. Prank, Joey Graceffa and SMOSH. YouTube and AwesomenessTV have also paired up to create several feature-length films that will debut online and feature YouTube stars. The Google subsidiary is facing competition from Facebook, Yahoo, and even Netflix.
The movies and series are all part of YouTube’s plan to incentivize its platform for content creators. The first film is slated to debut on YouTube this Fall. According to Deadline Hollywood, the low-budget films will be released within weeks “to leverage marketing mostly done by the film’s social media stars themselves.”
YouTube believes this may become a new distribution model for movies. Another new incentive for YouTube stars is royalties from the paid subscription service coming soon.
YouTube is trying to outrun the competition from other online video platforms and video streaming services. Currently, the video platform attracts 145 million personal-computer viewers in a month, which is down from 151 million in 2013. Its mobile audience, on the other hand, grew by 50 percent.
However, Facebook is gaing ground; its audience grew 50 percent in two years to 91 million PC viewers. AOL and Yahoo are following with 67 million and 52 million viewers, respectively. Some analysts believe that people are spending more time watching online video via subscription streaming services than they are watching shorter videos.
These other networks are growing because content creators are turning to other platforms to upload their content. For example, TYT Network has started posting more frequently on Facebook. Collective Digital Studio started selling its biggest shows to Vimeo before uploading them on YouTube, according to Bloomberg.
Even Maker Studios and Fullscreen, which were originally YouTube multichannel networks (MCN), have started producing content for Snapchat and other platforms.