Brendan Gahan is the Director of Social Media at Mekanism, you can follow him on twitter at @brendangahan
1. Online video will dominate family TV
People are already cutting their cable in record numbers. According to a recent study by the Diffusion Group, which surveyed 2,000 United States adult broadband users, they found that 32 percent of participants planned to discontinue their cable service. Furthermore, “34 percent said a growing use of online video” was a key factor in making this decision.
With the popularity and accessibility of quality content via Hulu, Netflix and YouTube, it makes sense that consumers would opt out of expensive cable contracts in favor of relatively inexpensive alternatives such as Roku, Boxee and Apple TV.
2. YouTube stars will become… stars
This year will be the year YouTube stars become breakout stars. We’ve already seen the first signs of this — Amir Blumenfeld of CollegeHumor
had a small role in “A Very Harold and Kumar 3D,” as well as on the MTV show, “Pranked.” Bo Burnham had his own Comedy Central special
, while Fred did a made-for-TV movie with Nickelodeon
. It’s safe to say that the trend will only continue, and 2012 will be the year YouTube stars are able to obtain more prominent roles in films and TV shows — ultimately becoming household names.
3. Hollywood celebrities will become YouTube Stars
More and more ‘traditional celebs’ are building a following online. In the past, celebrities have focused on building online audiences on social media platforms such as Twitter, Blogs and Facebook fan pages, with original video content creation being largely ignored (with noteable exceptions
). However, it seems as though 2012 will be the year mainstream celebs become YouTube stars, as many have begun to create their own online web series. For example, Shaq and Pharrell Williams were among a handful of celebs who received a portion of YouTube’s $100 million to fund original channels
. Best selling rapper, Lil’ Wayne is also getting into the game and recently launched “Weezy’s Sports Corner
,” where he shares his thoughts on the latest in sports news.
4. ‘Subscribe’ will become the new ‘Like’
It’s safe to assume that YouTube is looking to promote more than just ‘views’ with advertisers in 2012. With the latest YouTube redesign, there is a new ‘Promoted Featured Channel’ box appearing under suggested channel. The site has also begun to crack down on inflated subscriber numbers
. These could very well be indicators of YouTube looking to get into the business of selling subscribers to Branded accounts, much in the same way Facebook promotes ‘Likes’ for Brand Pages. As more and more companies invest in video, it makes sense they’d want to invest in an evergreen community in which they can use to continue to promote content.
5. YouTube Networks will consolidate
As YouTube Partners come together under the umbrella of networks such as Maker Studios
, Machinima and others, they’ll have strength in numbers, being able to cross-promote channels to boost audiences. As a result, we’ll see a decline in the number of independent YouTubers. Without the boost of a network, it’s going to become more and more difficult to grow and maintain an audience, and the market can only bear so many advertisers.
What are YOUR predictions for online video this year? Comment below!