YouTube may be shifting gears soon, and they are asking viewers to help them through the process. This week, a Forbes article featuring one of YouTube’s lead product managers, Dror Shimshowitz, detailed the video-sharing site’s vision for more curated content. In the article, Shimshowitz is quoted as saying:
“YouTube used to be all about uploading content, but now, going forwards, a YouTube channel- you’ll have a hard time discerning content that was uploaded by the channel and content that was curated from other sources. At the end of the day—I don’t think the viewer really cares.”
While Shimshowitz is absolutely correct about viewers not caring where content comes from, the move towards more curated content could be problematic for YouTube’s partners.
YouTube is asking viewers to start curating the best content on YouTube in the style of, as Shimshowitz puts it, “ESPN Sportscenter.” Viewers will be encouraged to gather video content and create hosted programming.
“If you think about TV shows like ESPN Sportscenter, that’s essentially what these formats are. Clip shows. They have some hosts, talk for a few minutes and then they go to some content that they didn’t create but are pulling from other sources. Now we’re making that format available on YouTube. Anyone can use the giant library of video content and start to create these hosted Programs.”
This new format should ideally spread partner’s content to more viewers, but at what cost? The way that I see it, YouTube will be encouraging viewers to aggregate the best video content on the web in the same way Buzzfeed and 9gag collect image sets. While those meme aggregation sites attract millions of visitors to single posts, all credit is being given to the site that collects the images — not the image creators themselves.
Aggregation sites are built to allow visitors to click on multiple articles in minutes while commenting, posting and tweeting through it all. In this way, the aggregator, and not the creator, becomes what people visit everyday.
If YouTube does become more curator-driven, it could draw attention away from actual video creators and instead make curators the tastemakers of YouTube.
It isn’t all gloom and doom though.
On the other side of this speculative coin, curating on YouTube has existed on a small scale for years now. Playlists and favorites compile preexisting YouTube content, and partners aren’t any less popular.
If YouTube does roll out more curator-driven content, whether it will help or hinder partners comes down to the specifics. Will curators be forced to credit every video they collect? If curators are making money from these lists, how will they profit? Will the videos creator see any of that money?
There are hundreds of “what ifs” when deciding how this will change the YouTube marketplace for creators. Like they say, the devil’s in the details.