YouTube has become a cultural giant in the world of media. Literally every topic and niche can bring in revenue for the clever, and skilled, entrepreneur. Some even go so far as to buy YouTube views. Recently I have seen some of my favorite political commentators appear in the mainstream news, and it hit me. YouTube news channels garner way more views than the traditional outlets -YouTube is technically the mainstream for most public discourse at this point. That’s why it’s both troubling, and exciting to see the recent changes YouTube has been making,
While some recent technical glitches and the new algorithms for page popularity ratings have angered some creators, it seems that these may have just been the growing pains of much larger shifts for the platform as a whole. In some ways, it seems smaller channels are being squeezed out in favor of promoting the established creators with large audiences (this may actually lead to more people buying YouTube views). I don’t support this necessarily (though time will tell if this is actually the case) but these changes really were inevitable. The rising popularity of the platform, coupled with the insane cash services like Netflix are generating -made this shift a no-brainer.
YouTube is currently testing the release of a new pay for service hoping to compete with other media giants. YouTube Red offers advertising free viewing as well as a series of exclusive shows. The question remains if this change of platform will be good for the creators who rely on massive audiences – a pay for service may guarantee a paycheck but it might also hinder their ability to go cross platform since they must rely on a smaller exclusive audience. Something else YouTube may be banking on. The changes are coming fast, and it could either break the YouTube we know and love, or create an even more powerful behemoth.