Welcome to our new Video Insider newsletter, a morning email with the top news and analysis on the digital video industry, produced by BI Intelligence.
GOOGLE’S 16th EMPLOYEE TAKES OVER YOUTUBE: Susan Wojcicki, Google’s senior vice president of advertising, will take over YouTube, according to Re/code. Her predecessor, Salar Kamangar, will shift to another position at Google. Here’s Re/code on long-simmering woes at YouTube: “Over the past few years the video site has generated grumbling from some [content producers], who have found it hard to make significant money there, and from some advertisers, who would like it behave more like a TV network.” We agree with Re/code that it was time for Google to shake up YouTube. It has never been clear whether YouTube would morph into a dispensary of premium video content, or remain what it is — a huge archive of video miscellany. It’s no wonder ad prices are still low, given that mainstream consumers turn to it as a kind of video grab-bag, for quick fixes and research. Wojcicki was an advocate for Google’s acquisition of YouTube in 2006, and recently tweeted about its best 2013 ads. The likelihood of Wojcicki’s appointment was first reported by The Information late Tuesday. (Re/code)
DISCONTENT WITH YOUTUBE: It isn’t just content producers who have found it difficult to make money on YouTube — mainly because of soft CPMs, or cost-per-thousand impressions. The Guardian reported this week on simmering anger within the music industry at YouTube, which music industry players view as a kind of poor man’s Spotify: a place where people can easily go and stream music videos and listen to music for free. The problem is that the music industry doesn’t believe YouTube’s sharing in the spoils. They say that YouTube pays out only about half of what streaming music apps like Spotify pay out in music rights fees. YouTube has shot back that it has paid out over $US1 billion to music labels in the last few years, but that was not enough to quell anger at Midem, a music industry conference held in Cannes this week. (The Guardian)
SOME PEOPLE ARE GOOSING YOUTUBE VIEWS: Meanwhile, Google’s cracking down on tactics that some YouTubers use to inflate their numbers, according to a post yesterday on Google’s official blog: “When some bad actors try to game the system by artificially inflating view counts, they’re not just misleading fans about the popularity of a video, they’re undermining one of YouTube’s most important and unique qualities.” Philipp Pfeiffenberger, a software engineer at Google, said the company would begin to periodically check for fraudulent view counts, and remove any views deemed suspect. (Google)
YouTube Channels Turning To Crowdfunding: In fact, some of YouTube’s powerful Multi-Channel Networks or MCNs — which group together YouTube creators and help them generate more revenue — have recently turned to crowdfunding in order to supplement their creators’ too-thin ad revenue streams, according to a guest post by Josef Holm in Reel SEO: “Whether to finance the production of a new web series or to boost the sale of merchandise, many YouTube MCNs are turning to crowdfunding to increase their creators’ bottom line. It should be noted — Holm runs TrueStart, a crowdfunding platform for YouTubers. (Reel SEO)
NETFLIX DEBT RAISE OF $US400 MILLION: Netflix will borrow a big chunk of money to produce more original programming, the company announced yesterday. Exclusive hit shows like “House of Cards,” and “Orange Is The New Black,” serve to differentiate Netflix from competitors, and lure more subscribers. Netflix also said that it would spend $US3 billion on content this year, and $US6.2 billion in the next three years. (GigaOm)
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We offered to sell a 40-nine-per-cent stake and take the name Blockbuster.com. We’d be their online service.” — Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, on his offer to sell Netflix to Blockbuster in 2000, quoted in The New Yorker.
OLD MEDIA DROPPED THE BALL: Blockbuster’s failure to recognise the online threat to their video rental business from the likes of Netflix is a textbook case of old media’s blind spot when it comes to disruption, argues James Robinson in PandoDaily: “The major media companies who’ve struggled bitterly to adapt to doing business in the digital era weren’t felled by an unseen force, they dropped the ball and innovation happened without them.” (PandoDaily)
*The Content Delivery Summit takes place May 12 in New York. Dan Rayburn at Streaming Media Blog has opened the call for speakers as of yesterday. The conference is in its 6th year.
BEAUTY BRANDS ON YOUTUBE: Pixability has a study on how beauty brands, including cosmetic and makeup products, are using YouTube, and how well their marketing efforts are performing. There’s a lot of room for improvement. According to the company, beauty brands control only 3% of beauty-related views on YouTube. (Pixability)
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