2015-03-20 09:14

The marvel of YouTube


Despite the proliferation of websites allowing their users to upload and watch video content, YouTube remains unchangeably popular. What is the success factor behind this phenomenon? Krzysztof Majkowski, business consultant at Gemius explains.

The makers of YouTube had the perfect understanding of internet audience needs, and the ability to accurately define and predict these expectations. They also had an excellent sense of timing when it came to launching the website. Another factor is the uncomplicated formula of the service – internet users are free to choose what they wish to see. They are also offered the possibility to make the video themselves and then post and share what they created with others in a simple and quick way.

Video going pro

YouTube is predominantly a video content website, featuring audio-visual material available on demand. From day one, it has been the internet users who decide what they watch and when. They can also comment and evaluate the videos.

The changes that YouTube has undergone so far are noteworthy, too. Primarily, the website mainly featured amateur videos, often quite average in quality. Now YouTube is one of the largest channel for distribution and promotion of new, original content. For many creators who participate in the site’s partner programme, uploading the videos they shoot is a source of income. 

Two different approaches to development

When speaking of YouTube, we shouldn’t forget about another similar site, Vimeo. Especially that both of them kicked off around the same time. The fundamental difference between them lies in the fact that Vimeo imposed certain limitations regarding the published content, promoting only the original production. Such restrictions were never adopted by YouTube.

Yet it is the YouTube strategy that paved the way to the mass audience. And this is why the video for “Lazy Sunday SNL” by The Lonely Island was posted there – not on Vimeo. The clip is considered the first turning point in the history of YouTube.

At present, the sheer scale of YouTube is a significant barrier to exit for any potential competitors. The chance for the newcomers may be to create something different and to find a good niche. Vimeo managed to do and so did Vine.

YouTube era

YouTube has also changed the way the internet users browse online content or even how they use other media. The rising demand for faster internet connections is partly attributable to the interest in online video. Naturally, hadn’t it been for the technology enabling the audience to watch the materials in real time, the site wouldn’t be that successful. On the other hand, the customer need was the driver behind the further development and dissemination of the technological solutions.

Moreover, YouTube – together with widely understood social media – play the role of an efficient communication platform and a channel popularising ideas, events, values or views. Consider for example the YouTube’s significance on the Arab Spring. The success of “Gangnam Style”, a creation by a South Korean artist Psy, came as a surprise even to the site’s developers. The music video first passed the one billion threshold, only to hit two billion, and then to reach the maximum number of views assumed by the YouTube makers. That is, until the counter was adjusted to increase the limit.

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