YouTube is not a TV service, but it looks like the video giant may be making yet another major programming move that mirrors the traditional model of television. The NY Post reported this week that YouTube will soon be cutting a significant number of their less successful original content channels. YouTube launched these channels to great fanfare less than a year ago. According to the Post, the decision on which channels to cut will be based “on the time viewers spend on the channel — and not just how many views each channel gets.” This means that this portion of YouTube’s service will be run using the same tried and true principles of traditional TV programming.
But what these cuts don’t mean is a diminished commitment to original programming by YouTube. At the same time that YouTube starts making these cuts, they’re also pursuing another round of funding for development. This follows on the heels of a July investment of $200 million in funding for original development.
Content creators are paying attention. While YouTube isn’t serious threat yet to the TV industry, the service has achieved significant success by attracting some of the top names in the biz. Julia Stiles, Ashton Kutcher, Ben Silverman (The Biggest Loser), and Anthony Zuiker (CSI) are just a few of the big names in front of and behind the camera that have helped to beef up programming.
In addition to using TV talent for original content, YouTube has also branched out heavily into live streaming. Users are now able to catch many of their favorite artists, sports events, and more live on the website. YouTube even became the go to site for many looking to skip the NBC delay and catch their favorite Olympic events live.
Investing heavily in original programming, TV talent, and live content has certainly paid off so far for YouTube. So what’s next? In addition to ongoing improvement and development in both of these areas, the site is looking to boost audience engagement with Google+ hangouts, acquire the rights to stream primetime TV shows, and continue to work with advertisers and social media outlets to try to improve user experience.
And while YouTube will continue to be a repository for all sorts of user-generated videos, it will be interesting to see how the professional side of YouTube will continue to take its cues from broadcasters and networks as they move forward into new areas.