Quality Video Killed the UGC Star

March 10, 2011

On Monday, YouTube announced its acquisition of web video production company, Next New Networks. Even though YouTube is far and away the most watched video site, it considered it imperative to purchase a company that specializes in high quality, professional content.

Why?

According to Tom Picket, director of global content operation at YouTube, “There’s still a lot of YouTube that’s about the single video experience right now, we want to think about sets of videos and program experiences.”

YouTube is looking to ‘change the way’ the industry looks at its relationship with the viewer. Although YouTube is not necessarily looking to produce new content, it is placing an enormous emphasis on the quality of its content.

Because YouTube is now in the original programming market, they directly compete with services like Hulu, iTunes and Netflix. This means YouTube is moving away from the ‘single video experience you watch in between phone calls at work’ and into the ‘program experience. ’

YouTube hopes that the program experience and quality content will translate into a consistently larger audience. Next News Network will help video creators with advertising, distribution of shows and building an audience.

While watching a video on your cell phone of a cat skateboarding is entertaining; YouTube understands that its professional content that will really drive advertising dollars.

In another example of the ability of video to rake in dollars, The Slate Group has recognized ad revenue increases of 33% in the last year by partnering videos with social media. Slate not only increased its video output, which captured consumers’ attention, it also revamped its sharing features to more fully take advantage of social media.

The fascinating end game is more ad revenue - its ad growth directly reflected the increased number of comments on its stories, which doubled in the past year. According to Slate CEO Jacob Weisberg :

”The not-so-secret key to its success was relying on Facebook and other social media sites to encourage less anonymity and more respectable, thoughtful exchanges.” 

Slate understands that if you want users to talk about your product, in this case video stories, you need to encourage them in anyway possible to share their thoughts and opinions.

This strategy not only aided Slate’s brand affinity but also their brand’s advertising dollar. Point being: the two go hand-in-hand. Even media powerhouses such as The New York Times and MSNBC are successfully experimenting with video strategies that have led to an increase in viewership.

Stokes Young, director of multimedia at the MSNBC, believes making video available at the article level is exceptionally important.

“The contextual placement of video news across our new site has really driven a lot of our traffic. We want video to be ubiquitous rather than off to the side.”

So recent reports have the largest online video site (YouTube), an edgy growing news site (Slate) and an established news powerhouse (New York Times) all coming to the same conclusion.

Whether its improving the content, increasing your audience, or boosting your ad revenues, the common denominator is high-quality video.