Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Media is older than you think - Part 2

YouTube is perhaps the most blatant example of the "New Media" hypocrisy. Their motto is "Broadcast Yourself" although it's hard to find on their webpage anymore.  Here's their current claimed reason for being...

Founded in February 2005, YouTube allows billions of people to discover, watch and share originally-created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small.

The real truth is that only thing YouTube cares about since the Google acquisition is becoming the Internet equivalent of NBC. They've invested a few million in a Los Angeles production studio called the "Creation Space" supposedly to support the YouTube community.  What you find in the small print, however, is that you don't get to use it unless you've been "invited."    

To get that golden ticket you need to  have at least 300,000 average views with the first crop of "invitees" being closer to a half million or more.  Check out the bulk of the channels and  you're going to find a lot of crossover from old media interests, entertainment figures and those with a popular following elsewhere. 

Sorry guys, your chances of getting in on the new digs is pretty slim with videos of your new kittens produced with Windows Movie Maker.

By the way, a common thread among successful YouTube channels is a partnership agreement with an even  larger channel. 

Oh yeah, and being a pop star with a record company backing the production of your new "Internet only" video wouldn't hurt either.

So what exactly is this New Media then?  A shortcut for old media billionaires to make more money by spending less on production?

Seems that way which means supporting your tiny channel is not their focus.  In fact since the Google acquisition, the service has become increasingly hostile to small content creators.  The recommendation is to sign up with bigger partners if you want to increase your views. 

That means revenue sharing or basically paying the bigger partner a percentage of your monetized views on top of YouTube's normal cut.  Kind of like a pyramid scheme.  Paying for views, by the way, is something YouTube actively discourages anywhere but partner agreements.  They can't turn a profit outside that structure so they make sure you don't either.

The only thing YouTube is nurturing is its own fortunes.  Don't expect to get a call to reserve your slot in the "Creation Space" if you're not in the less than 1% of YouTubers able to live off your partner income.  It's not going to happen for smaller channels simply because their take isn't lucrative enough for them.

YouTube will reap millions from its relatively paltry investment in facilities and you're going to pay for it with deeper cuts into your monetization.  Even if you never get to use it.  So much for their philanthropic motives.

Why?  Simple, it's a corporate interest and  you're just a consumer of their product.  Your "partner" status just gives them license to hijack your content for their own ends with minimal benefit for you.  So while you spend hours hoping that all that slaving over the perfect upload will go viral, know that YouTube has your back.  Well at least so long as they can turn a profit on you.  Oh yeah and you don't do anything to threaten the sensibilities of their advertisers or even suggest the possibility of a copyright infringement. 

Do either of those and you'll quickly be branded "Not Advertiser Friendly" which at the minimum denies your videos monetization or at worst gets them pulled down.

Sound familiar?  It's the same dynamic that got your favorite show kicked off of network TV and drove innovative cable networks like TechTV into the ground. 

So dry your tears New Media pundits, it's the same old crap in a new package.  Nothing's really changed as the same "old media" gatekeepers are still collecting the tolls.

I'm not trying to discourage anyone from engaging in this "New Media" just don't believe everything you hear about it.  It's definitely fun but it's far from free and not as lucrative as it seems so don't quit your day job.   

You can start a blog, post hundreds of videos on YouTube and spam all your Facebook friends with them  and still not earn a dime.  Without the backing of the gatekeepers you may as well post your blogs on telephone poles.  Just remember the "New Media" isn't all that new so take it with a grain of salt.  Most of the hype you're hearing is the same kind of noise you get from an "Internet Millions" infomercial.