I’m a big fan of new technology, especially when it comes to media. And with certain things I even consider myself a first mover. So when Netflix entered Denmark in 2012 I immediately quit all my traditional cable subscriptions. Actually on the exact same day. Half of my reasons was to teach old technology a lesson. Like yeah – that’ll teach them! See how they can manage without me! Obviously my bold move made no impact.
The other half was the high prices and my personal lack of influence.
The switch to Netflix also meant that I stopped watching traditional TV commercials and now 4 years later I still haven’t done so!
On a social level I was completely missing out on all the things that my colleagues where discussing during lunch. At least that’s what I thought, but as it turned out – I didn’t miss out on anything at all. I get to live without the mediocre productions (there are a few also on Netflix if I ever feel the need). And since the arrival of the Internet, watching news in TV has been a deja vu like experience. I knew most already from reading headlines during the day.
So it IS possible to quit traditional TV. In case you wondered.
But lately my life of just watching Netflix and reading online news has been disturbed by YouTube as I’ve stumbled upon the stars of tomorrow. I mean – I’ve known about Vlogging for some years and we all know those videos of cats and accidents that goes viral. Psy the Korean superstar was the first to reach 1 BILLION views on YouTube with his Gangnam Style (just passed 2.5 billion), but those videos doesn’t really replace our traditional big screen TV experience, in this article I call that our first screen. Well they steal attention away from it, but in most cases you’ll use YouTube as your second screen and watch the viral cat video on you phone or tablet while the big screen TV continues to run in the background.
Vlog is just short for Video log same like Blog is short for Web log. It’s an online diary (or log if you like) but with video, and I believe that Vlogging is mature enough to enter the masses now. The quality of the productions is there and the audience is certainly also.
Take a popular YouTube character like Casey Neistat from New York. In 2015 he made Vlogging his lifestyle, and the videos he produce, which is one per day, match the quality of what most TV networks are capable of. And if you think about this for a moment – why shouldn’t it be like that today? The gear that is within most peoples reach is really high quality compared with just 10 years earlier where video from handheld devices were – well A LOT worse! The technological leap between big production companies and everyday people is smaller.
The content and the topics that he covers is also, for me at least, much more relevant and genuine(!) than what traditional TV networks offer. And that’s when I discovered, that these videos completely changed my watching behavior. I now use my big screen TV for YouTube videos. But what’s on my second screen then – well it’s not Netflix and it’s certainly not traditional cable.
So where do those medias then belong in the future?
That’s the big change. YouTube will move away from our second screen and enter our first screen with its Vlogs as technology and general awareness finds its way into our everyday lives. That means less time to consume content from alternatives and it is going to happen fast.
The way some of these Vloggers make money is not, despite what you might think, through YouTube advertising but through websites like Patreon. Their concept is very simple, if you like an artist, let’s say a Vlogger, you can subscribe to that artists work by paying a recurrent amount of own choice per video. So now it’s suddenly the consumers that are thanking the creators directly and contributing proactively to more content being produced. That is very powerful!
This Australian couple is a great example. They sold everything they had, quit their jobs and bought a boat in Italy without any prior sailing experience. They’re now sailing around the world and everyone can follow their Vlogs and they’re using Patreon actively in their videos with success. They are, as I write this, earning around $5.000 per video, and they produce one per week. You do the math.
Netflix, HBO, HULU and Amazon Prime will have to compete with Vlogs and they’ll probably try to buy these characters, or copy them, but I don’t believe they’re able to because they’re on a different platform and the characters will most likely also stop being genuine if that happened. Netflix has without doubt disrupted cable and the way we consume content but other than that they still serve traditional productions, series, shows and movies with star actors, and this is different. And I wonder what will happen to traditional cable? Oh my.