YouTube’s Top 2024 Priorities – Pay Up or Else.


This Week: Facebook turns 20 🤮, Disney desperately seeks a business model 🙈, YouTube’s scary priorities 👻 and my next meetup in San Diego THIS SUNDAY at Margaritaville 5:30pm (RSVP here for details) 🍷🍸🍹🍺!

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Description automatically generatedYouTube’s 2024 Priorities: CEO Neal Mohan shared his vision for Big Red in 2024, and it’s all about more AI, more exclusivity and more safety. Just as YouTube democratized access to audiences – and revenue – he sees AI as the next big way to help everyone create. Mohan promises to build “appropriate protections” and ensure it is in the “service of creativity”. Mohan also highlighted YouTube’s efforts to help creators get paid and get recognized by governments, perhaps to blunt recent collective action from emerging orgs like Creators Guild and Mohan also leaned into subscriptions, which worryingly distorts the democratization of media with a posh layer of exclusivity. Passive TV viewing also takes center stage, as YouTube tries to be the everything video platform – presumably with more velvet ropes for its wealthier customers.

My Take: I applaud the focus on recognizing creators, kids safety and combating misinformation – areas where YouTube is doing better than its peers. But I worry about the coming bifurcation of the YouTube experience into haves and have-nots. I’d hate to see all the good stuff created by real people sequestered behind a paywall, while the plebes get fed cheap AI-generated crap.

  • Related: Enjoy our American Super Bowl holiday – did you spot all the creators? Want to catch up on the ads? YouTube’s 18th annual AdBlitz gives you a place to rewatch them all. Who could have predicted back 2007 that Little Reddy would turn into a cornerstone of NFL TV dominance? Hopefully when YouTube inevitably “broadcasts” the Super Bowl, it’ll still be free for all.
  • Related: Mike Shields on why Mr. Beast is the biggest show on TV.

Facebook turns 20: One score years ago, our Zuckfathers brought forth on this digital realm a new platform, conceived in connectivity, and dedicated to the proposition that sharing cat videos, arguing over politics and a relentless march of baby photos should be universally accessible. But today it’s unclear whether a social network of the people, by the algorithm and for the ad revenue, should not vanish from our screens. Facebook expert David Kirkpatrick’s take on The Facebook Tragedy is well worth reading, as is Vox’s take on “What We Learned”.

Last One Out Turn Off The Lights: The dying paroxysms of traditional television convulsed into a new “Winners Bundle” of sports-heavy channels. It’s a recognition that live – and particularly live sports — are the last best hope for traditional TV. Just like how the demise of ATT means more money for creator sponsorships, this last gasp for traditional TV will likely lead to more ad dollars flowing to the live and on-demand video content most people really want. Creators (and sports). It will take years for sports rights to unwind and then coalesce around new partners. But done right YouTube could be a big winner here, along with Netflix, TikTok and Amazon/Twitch.

  • Related: Disney invests in Epic – it reminds me of when Disney bought Maker. Aligning those brands is going to be interesting – get ready for Buzz Lightyear Battle Royale! Cathy Hackl has an optimistic take.
  • Related: The Metaverse is back! But let’s call it something else, mmkay.

Media Value and Creator Power: You need to read Doug Shapiro’s four-part look at how media value is created and flows today and tomorrow. I highlighted part 1 and part 2 last week. Part 3 and part 4 are out. Shapiro lays out the state of our new gatekeepers, and how “The greatest hope for creators lies in better monetization tools and business models, not more equal popularity distributions.” He also explores three possible ways creators MIGHT avoid the winner-takes-all environment of today including through regulation (eg Section 230), web3 and AI. Part 4 brings it home, exploring how immersion, active fandom and finding new time have the potential to drive more rapid change. Better living through technology – IF you lean into the right ones.

VTuber Turmoil: VTuber agency Nijisanji EN accused of toxic behavior and bullying after it terminated top creator Selen Tatsuki. This feels a lot like some of the early MCNs who preyed on immature talent. Hope these VTubers can forge their own path and own their avatars – and the toxic Nijisanji (and parent company ANYCOLOR) either changes or fades away. Perhaps the Japanese government needs to get involved?

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