Though I’ve already summarised the storytelling aspects of the Brighton Connected TV Conference, a talk that stood out for me on the day was that of Richard Waterworth from YouTube / Google. Aside from the sweeping stats showing how popular YouTube is (very popular), he gave a clear summary of how the next generation of internet users have adapted thanks to the ease of creating and sharing video content online, and how that can influence content creating strategies.
Generation C – the connected
Because it’s about time a new generational letter came along, it’s apparently been decided that “C” represents the youth of today, with the prediction that within 3 to 5 years this group will make up over 40% of all markets. Generation C is apt not just it is Connected, but because they are Curators, Creative and have a sense of Community.
We all know by now what it’s like to be connected, though Richard drove the spread home with the stats that 90% of generation C sleep next to their phone, and 75% claim to watch TV on a different device. Creativity is easy to understand, too: sites like YouTube have given ordinary people the chance to make extraordinary videos, which can be consumed by vast numbers. Community, too, comes naturally when content can be shared so easily – Richard noted 65% of this group are recorded as updating their profiles daily, showing the importance of being an active part of that community.
The most striking of these four points is Curation, though. It is important to Generation C that they share, as well as create, to be part of that community and earn social currency. Demonstrating that you on the pulse, and quick to offer breaking new content, is almost as big a deal as creating the content yourself. Describing the world around us and reporting on the things we find to others is an activity in itself, one that heavily drives behaviour.
Behaviours of Generation C
To understand and cater to this evolving group, Richard suggested we take note of the key behaviours that dictate content’s success. Generation C is prone to FOMO, Fear of Missing Out, meaning they are always connected, social and sharing, even during work hours. They are also concerned, above all, with authenticity. Whatever their interest, Generation C wants to engage with the real world. Being genuine and informed is the aim; which means Generation C’s perception of quality is based on finding something meaningful, not on big budget productions.
When creating new content to suit these behaviours, it should be:
- Content to be shared
- Content to be a part of
- Content for all devices
- Content driven by authentic quality, which connects meaningfully due to this different and deeper evaluation of quality.
Creating great content and channels
Richard gave a series of great examples of what it means to create successful content on YouTube, with lasting brands. Highlights include Ellen’s channel, which started as a complement to her TV chat show but can now be considered a business on its own. This is thanks to effective self-contained clips which appeal to a huge audience, such as Nikki Minaj’s appearance alongisde young internet star Sophia Grace, now ranked at about 65 million views.
The Vice channel shows how personality and social sharing help build a brand. Coming relatively late in the video journalism game, Vice’s unique brand of edgy journalism was carefully ported to the internet preserving their voice with colourful presenters – and as such was shared successfully through social media. The content is very topical, but that alone will not build subscribers – it is also heavily branded, and full of personality.
Brands can be built through connecting many channels, adding scale to individual accounts (something Vice does well), but really personality is key. Other examples Richard gave were Felicia Day, a personality that appeals to geeks (who now appears all over the web), and Harley from Epic Meal Times, a presenter for the bros (who now sells cookery books).
The most interesting example, though, was Sorted Food – a cookery channel started by four ordinary guys that apparently now has more viewers than Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. Sorted Food is branded to appeal to a mixed audience, with a no nonsense sense of everyday cheeky-Brit style. Having started from humble origins, it now has a wide sense of community, with connected channels and a cleverly organised ‘shelf’ presentation of its videos.
Monetisation and Rights
When you’ve got the branding down and the audience captivated, the big question is then monetisation and rights. Building an audience can lead to advertising revenue, sale of peripheral products or, possibly most interesting, massive market tracking uses.
If an IP is found on YouTube, and claimed by its original copyright owner, then it is up to the original rights owner to decide what to do with that content. For example, if a music track is used over a video, it is the musician that gets to choose what becomes of the video: monetise it for advertising revenue, track it for market insights, or block it. This option should help keep clips and content online, as companies can find uses for third party content, rather than simply complain and have content removed.
Hopefully some of this detail will help provide some ideas for developing content for YouTube in the future, or at least in considering what makes content more effective, and what the next generation of users really want. Thanks to Richard Waterworth for the insights, and to WiredSussex for putting on the Brighton Connected TV Conference.