YouTube’s crown is wobbling, expert warns

By Chris Lee

The gloss may be coming off YouTube, one of the world’s most visited websites and the premier video site, according to Anish Patel, founder and head producer at web video firm Revolution Productions. Industry watcher Ad Age recently reported that viewing figures had fallen on YouTube during the first four months of 2012, a notable occurrence for a site accustomed to growth and during a period of rapid growth for online video.

It is predicted that video will form 90 per cent of Internet traffic by 2013. Video marketing is also being leveraged more by businesses and to good effect. So why has YouTube apparently stalled?

The drop could be down to YouTube’s shifting away from volume to encourage higher quality content that will appeal to advertisers and Patel believes that people are simply going elsewhere to watch their video content.

Waiting in the wings

So what are the reasons for YouTube’s drop in viewership and, if online video is still a fast-growing media, who is going to pick up the slack?

“YouTube doesn’t have that professional feel as other immerging sites such as Vimeo and Viddler do. YouTube has unfortunately become a site for funny videos, rather than a serious advertising or business platform,” Patel told NMK. “I’d say sites like Blip.tv, Viddler, and vimeo [will challenge YouTube’s dominance]. This is mainly due to them all having original content and a specific target markets. YouTube has now become just too general and contains anything and all types of video.”

But if YouTube is still by far the most visited video channel so when will there be a tipping point between YouTube’s dominance being eroded by either one or a collective of video sites? According to Patel, this could happen within three to five years.

“Everything that goes up must come down. People are already beginning to look for quality content and this is what will ultimately determine who will be crowned the new king of the video platforms,” he said. “Currently, YouTube is trying to sponsor producers to produce more professional content but who knows. In my opinion, Vimeo is the front runner to bypass YouTube as they provide excellent high quality content and creative pieces.”

Implications for marketers

So if the online video channel space is going to change dramatically in the next few years, what does this mean for marketers currently invested heavily in YouTube or looking to get into online video?

“Start to look at other options now if you are looking to advertise,” Patel advised. “Especially as other sites offer heat maps and benefits that YouTube currently does not. Your video will be more effective there as it will get more exposure. While YouTube gets a lot of viewers at the moment, it may not be relevant to your target is not as professional and may not have the target market you had in mind.”

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