The Future of Digital Media and YouTube’s Place in It

Silicon Beach: the West LA tech hub is taking over the media scene and becoming a rising player in the ever changing digital media landscape. The significance of this new space lies at the intersection of technology and entertainment. In a recent Mashable article, Josh Dickey explores this new relationship between entertainment and technology and what it means for the rest of the world.

Bringing this concept into the YouTube sphere, we see extremely important parallels that impact how YouTube content should be handled and delivered. YouTube is a pioneer in combining media and technology.

Companies like Microsoft, Netflix, Amazon, and AOL have maintained their digital media monopoly by dipping their toes into the world of content creation, principally movies and TV shows. While YouTube has not created its own content, it has in some ways been in this domain for quite some time, having individual users create videos and web series that emulate TV and movies. This begs the question: Is YouTube falling behind by not participating in original content production?

For comparison’s sake, Netflix used to be simply a content provider similar to YouTube. It provided a platform where content could be delivered to users. YouTube does this as well, providing a medium where users can upload videos for public access. However, in 2013 Netflix broke that boundary and became a content producer with their hit show “House of Cards,” which was subsequently nominated for Emmy awards and won several Golden Globes. Should this action prompt YouTube to also enter the content production business?

Potential drawbacks of such a move could include a backlash from YouTube users. Such action could also fail to win popular support, as many of YouTube’s past original content investments failed to gain sufficient audience. On the other hand, original programming could help YouTube realize additional growth and continued dominance in the online video space.

The line between content providers and content producers is becoming increasingly blurred. YouTube fans should keep an eye out to see if the video giant decides to create the next big show, as this could signal continued integration between the technology and entertainment industries. What this means for users is a potential changing of the YouTube space. Using the Netflix example, their business model shifted entirely from providing mail service DVDs to producing their own original series. The impact this could have, should YouTube move into a similar area, is an increase in the expected quality and caliber of YouTube videos. Rather than the quirky and relatable bedroom filmed vlogs, YouTube may be crushing the competition with Golden Globe material content. I urge you to ponder, is YouTube satisfied with their current role providing a public platform to fame or are the days of power in the hands of a camcorder coming to an end?

by Mackenzie Hummel

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