Numerous media outlets, including the subject of this posting, celebrated the Fifth Birthday of the YouTube website. The first 17-second video shot by Yakov Lapitsky at the San Diego Zoo has become an on-line phenomenon again. In the online world, though, history repeats itself first as miracle, then as retro-quaint. YouTube’s meteoric rise has been challenged by such subgenre sites as Vimeo and Hulu, but that rise continues: YouTube boasts some 2 billion separate views per day. Nowadays, the site hosts everything from snippets of movies and concert videos (excerpts that often circulate in-and-out of view, and in-and-out of the grew legal status of online copyright infringement), to corporate commercials, to the repository of news and commentary disputing those commercials.
YouTube, now owned by Google, might be one of the more perfect repositories of anarchic democracy on the web. So where is the video site hoping to go over the next five years? In a twist of irony, the leadership at YouTube/Google would like to expand the lengths of its offerings, allowing more serious and extended presentations.
Yes, YouTube has gotten itsfor posting so many millions of 30-second to 2-minute home-made videos. But the company has been expanding its offerings and creating ways for informed viewers to get to the content (and related content) they seek. Alex Pham of the has reported on the efforts by the company to offer full-length movies and TV shows on the site via dedicated ‘channels’ within the site: “The average YouTube viewer sticks around for about 15 minutes a day, while TV ensnares people for five hours daily. So the San Bruno, Calif., company is experimenting with ways to keep people on its site longer. To close the gap with television, YouTube is adding full-length movies, two-hour concerts and live sporting events — some in high-definition and even stereoscopic 3-D — to its mix of snack-sized videos. It’s putting an emphasis on more polished videos from independent movie producers, major record labels and even Hollywood studios with whom YouTube has had a prickly relationship.” While this strategy seems still in the planning stage, YouTube has been developing specific ‘channels’ for about a year now to get people to the content they want. Perhaps of greater benefit, though, these channels are encouraging serious (which is not to say some of them are not fun(ny)) video production to create an online video ‘face’ for numerous organizations.
Hatef Yamini of FrogLoop.com considers this development a critical component of any nonprofit’s online presence: “YouTube is a great way for your nonprofit to share its story and get found on the internet. But I’ve noticed that some nonprofits haven’t taken the important extra step to take advantage of the Google YouTube for Nonprofits program. It lets you customize the branding of your channel and gives you additional features and tools.” Those tools include integrated ‘Donate!’ and call-to-action buttons that work through your YouTube site to your nonprofit’s own databases and support-collection tools. You also can customize the look and feel your organization’s site without losing the connectivity that might draw people to your site via other searches. Check out the Nonprofit Channel for more information. As MKCREATIVE has often commented about social media, your organization’s presence on YouTube is scalable, and you should not be intimidated about the professionally-produced sites already up. Establish your presence, introduce yourself to the audience (likely to be quite small at first), and get engaged in the simultaneous learning-and-growing process.
The success and influence of YouTube is undeniable, and the company’s strategy for the next five years could prove a boon to professionals of all ilks. Your nonprofit should be one of those involved. Who would want to pass up the opportunity to talk to, say, two billion people about the great work your organization is doing, and how you want some of those viewers to get involved?