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YouTube may be known mostly as the place to watch entertaining, funny, or just plain odd amateur contributions, but those amateurs may be facing some new forms of competition pretty soon. Movie and television producers are rushing to create Web-exclusive programming, in the form of short episodes to be aired on YouTube channels. Successful Web content can offer a good trial run for a full-length feature film or television series. The content is timely and just as captivating, but it requires fewer resources to produce and does not demand any commitment in terms of the number of episodes. Google thus is creating 100 new video channels that offer original content.

Web content also can be created much more quickly than other forms of communication. Yahoo has used its own data to determine what sort of videos to produce. Thus, when Yahoo noticed the volume of clicks on news stories about wedding engagements, it immediately developed a Web series entitled “The Ultimate Proposal.” Each episode has attracted around 11 million views.

Web videos can be strategic in terms of the people involved too. Instead of using a celebrity, Awesomeness TV relies on well-known, 14-year-old skateboarders to anchor their own shows. These teen opinion leaders are not only are experts on the topic, but they also bring with them thousands of YouTube and Twitter followers. Their shows thus come with a premade audience, which helps ensure the success of the channel.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Will Web content be interesting?

Source: John Jergensen, “Web TV’s New Line Up,” The Wall Street Journal, February 17, 2012.

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