Remember when that was YouTube’s slogan, “Broadcast Yourself”? It seems that’s less and less the case. While I’ll happily use official show upload channels not only to ensure the rights holder gets the most of their rights but because I can then show you programs I couldn’t before that I really want to promote, it seems like the platform is being taken over by bigger studios, streaming services who want to draw people to their service without paying for ads, and celebrities who want a bigger presence in your life so they can get better gigs later on.
Meanwhile the “YouTube celebrity” is looked down upon by any TV show that isn’t The Masked Singer unless they can create a show around them. Nickelodeon seems to really be pushing for that last part, whether it’s about a crazy teen who needs to seriously calm down and stop freebasing helium or a kid who reviews toys in his age group. Old Media is trying to reclaim its dominance by turning YouTube into their playground, some feel at the expense of people who honestly want to use the platform. While this could be in response to all the illegal uploads of TV shows that was indeed a problem on the site, it seems now that it’s about taking over on a streaming service they don’t have to maintain…or to promote the ones they do but has the advantage of making them money. It’s free advertising and they can try to make ad revenue on top of it.
This is a problem for anyone who wants to make YouTube videos out of honest passion or creating something that wouldn’t work on regular TV without being stuck on cable/community access, which is really a dying platform because of sites like YouTube. In the following video from YouTuber Josh Strife Hayes he goes over the problem with YouTube, why it’s so hard to gain an audience without conforming to “what works”, and even points to the exact day YouTube creatively died. Then I have some thoughts as well from my own experience.
Catch more of Josh Strife Hayes on YouTube.
Someone in the video’s comments noted what I said in the intro (and that’s what reminded me actually) about YouTube dropping the “broadcast yourself” tagline. The problem is lack of alternate choices. YouTube is the popular platform. Facebook as been trying but I don’t even know how to post something to Facebook Watch. Dailymotion’s player is garbage as of this writing with ads every two minutes. Vimeo is one option but there’s no ad revenue. Sites have tried to compete, but Blip was essentially (though the actual term may be off) raided by Maker Studios for their assets in the hopes of being bought out by Disney. It was considered a good platform not only for ad sharing but because they didn’t have the restrictions for reviewers and video essayists that YouTube has with their questionable Content ID system, born of those illegal show uploads. It’s harder on anime reviews and commentaries because Japan doesn’t even have an equivalent to “fair use” rules while other countries have also tried to track down on reused content even when they allegedly do have fair use rules.
I do remember the big war between PewDiePie and T-Series for that subscriber count and it is a shame that someone honestly making videos for fun got beat out by a bigger studio that is only in it for the profit. Granted some YouTube celebrites are after profit as well, but it’s what keeps them able to work on their shows rather than fight a regular job they don’t really enjoy when there’s a video that they’d rather be producing. I wish BW was making me…anything. The host gets the site’s ad revenue and thanks to changes in YouTube’s “partner program” I’m no longer allowed to make any ad revenue while just shy of $40 away from the minimum threshold of $100. So unless I become popular enough that I can make ad revenue again (X number of subscribers and X hours of watch time) YouTube is not a money source.
Meanwhile these studios are keeping ad revenue going for their trailers and other promotional videos. Yes, not only are they getting free advertising they are being paid to post those ads through other ads. Is that fair? I don’t think so.
There are some new sites that might be an alternative in the future, but Odysee and Rumble are plagued by polticially-motivated people convincing everyone that because they don’t censor thought that it’s the home of “far right facsists” or something along those lines, which scares certain people off. I have seen a number of videos that have nothing to do with politics and big names among the YouTuber crowd like Just Some Guy and Shadiversity have their own channels to reach a wider audience and/or as an alternative to YouTube. Additonally they’re new and whether or not they can achieve the success denied even other video hosting sites that were around the same time as YouTube (anyone remember Revver?) is yet to be seen. Throw in that because of various security issues and the way they embed I can’t even use Odysee with this host without a paid program and options are limited.
In short I don’t think Alphabet City or Google really care about the people on their platform. Fighting Content ID claims and false flags, questionable censoring actions that making seem more like a publisher than an open platform, pushing celebrities over dedicated YouTube contributors, and the regular entertainment system staking their claim for the sake of their own egos is making things more difficult. I don’t have a huge staff and I also write articles and comics so while I want to make more videos since it’s a great way to explore storytelling in ways I can’t in article form, YouTube is just not something that will work as a business or any source of income at all for me. If these aren’t fun they won’t work, and they’re draining as much fun out of making content on their site as they can.