During an era when technology is moving faster than ever, a visit to VidCon last month made me feel like I jumped through a wormhole and caught up with the speed of light. As social media platforms continue to evolve, so does the way we interact with each other and how people consume entertainment during a very dynamic time.
Although 2017 is a “blink and you missed it” period of technical growth, events like VidCon help me stay in step with technical advances.
Traditional Television is No Longer Must See TV
Much to my not surprise, young people are abandoning traditional television for some of the newer standards for content: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. This is not to say they don’t watch content that is being shown on the networks and cable TV. They watch their favorite shows when they want to and where they want to on the device of their choosing.
This shift means watching programming is now a completely different experience than it was just a decade ago. As someone who works in television, it has very interesting to watch people move from a traditional format to digital in a very short time.
A few of the young people I spoke with on the convention floor mentioned who they were looking forward to meet. Due to my exposure to young people (anyone under age 25) and how they interact with online entertainment, there were no surprises when I asked who they were excited about: YouTube stars.
For any of you folks who don’t follow trends, anyone can create content for YouTube and grow their own audience. For those who are successful at not only creating engaging content, but also creating a network with personal branding and a following any TV network would envy, they’re referred to as YouTubers.
I suppose you could define them as Internet celebrities who have gained popularity from their videos. One of the panel discussions that explored the YouTube model focused on personalities who have corporate sponsors to pay for product placement in their clips or production of online ads – very smart! Networks sometimes support YouTube celebrities to expand their own brands.
Take a look at the highest paid YouTubers of 2017.
One platform that I was sort of overlooked the past year or so is making a huge impact with online content. YouTube Red is a paid streaming subscription service exclusively for YouTube in the United States, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand and South Korea. It provides advertising-free streaming of all videos on mobile devices and smart TVs, access to advertising-free music streaming through Google Play Music, and access to “YouTube Red Original” series and films.
The key word that sticks out in the description is advertising-free. I assumed everyone wanted content without having to pay for it, but after discussing the platform with many young people, they’re open to paying for it (although I get the feeling if they can get it for free they would).
At the moment, YouTube Red has about 40 originals for online consumption, which tells me the number of people looking for content is growing for the platform.
Take a look at the video below to see some of the new offerings for 2017.