Yesterday on my way home I found myself wondering about the media community's craze with 'premium content' online. Industry executives are constantly debating the rate at which TV ad naira / cedis will move to the web, but when it comes down to it, the advertising budgets can't move in significant ways until the marketing and media communities fully understand and get what people are actually watching online.
Yes, I watch Football on TV, but this represent a very small percentage of my online video viewing behavior. The same is true for my wife who loves soaps and cooking shows on DSTV but also watches Musical videos and comedy skits on YouTube.
The bottom line is, people watch every good content they can find and they don't focus on whether the content is professionally produced or user-generated. People just watch what they like, right? So why don't we, as marketers, start embracing media in the same way people consume it?
Yes, there are gating factors like formats and standardization and length of commercial spots, ad serving complexities, measurement, etc., but the primary factor seems to be psychological: it's about understanding how our people perceive video.
Today's video consumers are content agnostic: they don't differentiate between professional produced (often called "premium" content) and any other types of content (which I like to call "popular"). How do we know this?
Let's compare how online video creators with popular content stack up to commonly consumed premium content on TV. A Big DSTV hit Tinsel receives significant viewership on TV every week. Then look at the audiences 'popular' content creators attracting in the same weeks. The viewership is staggering. You may not be familiar with all of these content creators, but people are consuming them online, tuning into all definitions of shows, tutorials and news.
Users move through content fluidly and without contemplation of content origin. And more of that content is watched on YouTube than anywhere else.
Here are some critical stats on YouTube:
100 hours of videos are uploaded every minute
6 billion hours of video watched per month
Every day on YouTube, 7000 hours of news-related video are uploaded
YouTube is localized in 56 countries and across 61 languages (including Nigeria / Ghana)
There are tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes available on YouTube all over the world
More than 1000 channels in YouTube Edu; over 850,000 individual videos
The full potential of digital video will not be realized until we let the obsession with 'Premium-ness' of content go, just as our users have. Popular content is where it's at online. Users consume everything and don't differentiate between big studio productions and web originals.
YouTube, which celebrated its 9th birthday this year, is still very much at the centre of pop culture. YouTube is where the popular content lives. And we, the media and marketing community, need to get our heads around what people are really watching online. Here's to getting it right in the second half of 2014!