Note – I own an E-M10 Mark II and it is my favorite camera for still photography.
Regular Price: $998 | Sale Price:$649 | Exp 03/30
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Mirrorless Camera Body
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Back in 2012, views of my hobby videos on YouTube collapsed. Views that had low thousands or occasionally tens of thousands of views were no longer being watched. I hypothesized then that this was due to a flood of new content on YouTube, diluting the views, some sudden change in viewer habits or that YouTube had changed something.
Mostly this is due to YouTube changes. Starting in 2012, YouTube changed its search algorithm to reward videos that had more viewing time. Consequently, search results are steered towards the videos that YouTube thinks you will watch the longest.
A possible side effect of this change, also, is that short form videos may be likely to get higher rankings. The ideal YouTube video length has long been said to be 3-5 minutes. Longer videos get abandoned before they end.
To get seen on YouTube requires a combination of search engine optimization strategies, short videos, some specific types of content, and at least a weekly video release. I suspect that videos that enable advertising are ranked higher (all of mine have advertising disabled by me), which makes sense because ads pay the bills for YouTube.
This has impacted a great many, mostly small hobby producers. I went through my video subscription list yesterday and began pruning out those that have not posted a video in more than a year. I found dozens of content producers who stopped posting content over the past 1-3 years. Looking at their uploads list, it was apparent that their recent videos were no longer getting the views they once had for their older views – and not surprisingly, they gave up posting videos on YouTube.
This result is probably the “right result” for YouTube but not a desirable one for hobby video producers. This turns YouTube away from the serendipitous viewing of funny, independent little videos, to focus increasingly on sophisticated productions. Many of our favorite “channels” may still look like a guy or gal standing in front the camera in their bedroom, but in reality, many now have full production staff behind the scenes.
Today’s announcement doesn’t come as a total surprise. Earlier this year, the company already explained its focus on ‘watch time.” When it updated its suggested videos algorithm, YouTube noted that it did so to “better surface the videos that viewers actually watch, over those that they click on and then abandon.”
Meanwhile, Facebook is now hosting videos, although its search and organization of videos is terrible. Facebook is also faking high view counts by making Facebook hosted videos play automatically in Facebook news streams while YouTube auto play is disabled. Further, Facebook counts any video that plays for 3 seconds as a “view” while YouTube only counts 30 seconds or more as a view.
The author of the excellent Micro 4/3rds Photography Blog reveals the numbers behind his blog – and with blog ads, commissioned sales links and Youtube videos with ads, the combination earns very little money.
Most of the top video channels on Youtube got started very early back when it is alleged most channel creators gamed the system to increase viewership . While some recent arrivals have achieved viewer success, it may take years to achieve a reasonable following, or money spent on promotion. It is said that even for the successful Youtube channels, the creators most creators must also sell ancillary products (notably music but also t-shirts, hats, etc).
So why blog or produce Youtube videos? For many of us, do these as a hobby. We enjoy sharing helpful information with others. For example, I publish a popular tutorial blog on programming in App Inventor (See App Inventor 2: Learn to Code!). Other reasons include emphasizing one’s credentials in the subject, to advertise one’s skills to potential clients, to be involved in a social web of people with similar interests, perhaps to sell related products and services, and more.
Footnote – The “old” way Youtubers Got Views
 Many Youtubers figured out the way to get viewed – and obtain subscribers – was to generate lots of fake views to jump up high on the “Most Viewed” lists. In the early years of Youtube, it was easy to do this: copy the video player embed code 100 times on an HTML page and just keep reloading the page! (This “feature” was disabled long ago!)
Appearing on the “Most viewed” lists increased visibility and views rapidly. Others say that nearly all of today’s successful channels, which started in the 2005-2008 first three years of Youtube, got there by manipulating view counts.
In 2012 or 2013 Youtube seems to have made changes in the search system that caused viewership of minor channels to fall. Starting about 2 years ago, views of my own videos fell sharply – and I no longer post much on Youtube, having instead migrated to Flickr (Flickr supports videos too!) On Flickr I often get as many views in a day as I would see – ever – on Youtube 🙂
I do a lot of shooting with the Nikon 1 cameras and love’em.
Adorama is featuring package deals on the newly announced Nikon cameras:
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Is YouTube Risking A Creative Exodus? ⚙ Co.Labs ⚙ code + community.
It’s getting hard for many of them to make the money needed to fund their production efforts based on Youtube ad revenue, alone.
Musicians make their money primarily by selling their music outside of Youtube (e.g. iTunes) – and use Youtube for the promotion of the music.
For others, the “stars” are branching out with sponsorships and paid product placements (a lot of videos now have hidden ad placement – some like the endless fashion/hair/makeup videos targeted at tweens through age 20 or so feature products the star was paid to show), merchandising and the latest is books, movies and even TV deals. Others, like Devin Graham, do sponsored videos that get shared with his millions of subscribers, featuring people having fun with products and services. He just announced he’s off to Istanbul courtesy of Turkish Airlines (and then probably other destinations as well).
Youtube is rapidly turning into something other than what it has been. Whether it ends up in a good place only time will tell. Obviously, Youtube and its content creators cannot sit still.
Yahoo might use Tumbler as a way to compete with Youtube. Hmmm.
Youtube Studios adds New York City to its existing studios in Tokyo, London and Los Angeles – accessible to any Youtube channel with at least 5,000 subscribers:
It will be chock-full of expensive equipment wired for collaboration all over the world, and it will all be available at a cost of exactly zero.Creators can easily gain access to the space. YouTube artists need a minimum of 5,000 subscribers to their channel and must be part of the company’s Partner Program, in which ads are hosted and revenue is shared.
Partners are given access to better cameras, production spaces and editing facilities as classes train them not just in shooting video, but also in makeup, design and anything else that might make programming pop online.
via YouTube Takes Manhattan – NYTimes.com.
Perhaps more importantly, the new studio is located near “Madison Ave” advertising agencies as Youtube content increasingly turns into smaller versions of what you watch on cable TV. Indeed, Youtube stars are already using the same agency, management, talent lawyers and agents as Hollywood. (I was amused, recently, to learn that one of the Youtube “stars” that appears by himself, is actually supported by a team of about two dozen people now!)
Some Youtube creators are complaining that Youtube takes 45% of all ad revenue and it has become very difficult to make a living creating content for Youtube.
However, some Youtube “stars” will also soon be adding books to their revenue streams.
Personal note – Youtube has coalesced into an increasingly “winner take all” market place. With so much content uploaded every minute, my own videos, which once had at least thousands of views, are now lucky to get tens of views. With their recent dropping of the 3D video player, I am contemplating ending uploads of video to Youtube. Youtube has become saturated and it is difficult for new offerings to get viewed.
Flickr, on the other hand, has been incredibly successful for me.
Researchers used a computer-based system to analyze millions of photos for various characteristics and how they may correlate with total views on Flickr.
Where your photo appears within a page of photos (e.g. upper left or middle) can impact its viewership. Of course, so too does the content of the photo.
The presence or absence of certain objects is effective “for predicting popularity”.
“Some of the most common objects present in images are: seashore, lakeside, sandbar, valley, volcano”.
They note their classification of image objects may be incorrect at times, but arrive at the following “impacts” of various objects in photos:
Other recommendations, from other sources, are to post 1 to 5 photos each day (photo streams show 1 or 5 photos only), and make the last photo uploaded in a group as your best, most eye catching photo (due to how photos are arranged in the photo stream). Tag all photos with search terms and add descriptive text. Cross post photos to groups. And of course, add descriptive texts.
Lisa Bettany made a blog post saying that #1 is to have an out focus background, #2 is to have lens flare, #3 is to have “hot chicks”, #4 is cute animals, #5 is close ups of flowers, and #6 is interesting photos with “interesting and tragically bohemian titles”.
I reviewed the stats for my own Youtube channel and discovered that 77% of all viewers are between the ages of 13 and 44 and about 60% are between the ages of 13 and 34.
Youtube does not present statistics on those under age 13 (think this is due to Federal laws to protect children) but there are third party reports that suggest the very young also view a lot of Youtube videos. Would be reasonable to add another 10% to 15% in that age group, meaning 90% + or – are below the age of 44.
But merely counting viewers by age does not give us the full story. I suspect that younger viewers also watch more minutes than do older viewers. If we had access to that data, we would probably see that nearly all of our channel views come from a young viewership.
This age skew is why some topics get large viewership, notably:
Those topics appeal to the younger viewers that make up the bulk of Youtube viewers. If you want to attract a big channel audience, you will probably want to target topics that interest young viewers.
This demographic is also very important for advertisers – brand identification starts young. Buying habits start young. And many young people spend a lot of money. Youtube is an advertiser’s dream audience.
More Youtube demographics over on my other blog.
Update: No surprise – Youtube “stars” are better recognized/more famous among teens than are “A-list” movie stars and celebrities.