YouTube’s most popular content is no longer two minute long videos of cats or cheesy skits made on grainy laptop cameras. It has become a place where creators can upload longer, more in depth videos like documentaries and shows.
For the past few years, YouTube has been more focused on creating longer, monetized content made by their creators. This change has allowed creators to either thrive and gain millions of views, or to fall short, not meeting YouTube demands. In essence, this is pushing YouTube more in the direction of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
In recent months, they’ve been promoting longer videos, multi-episode series, and documentary style features, and those have been getting the views.
In August 2018, creator Shane Dawson uploaded a five part series that gave an inside look to the world of beauty guru and entrepreneur Jeffree Star, each installment lasting about 30 minutes, totaling nearly three hours of content. The series was shot like a documentary, with in depth interviews and a look inside of a world most people don’t know.
Since being posted in early August, the series has racked up over 86 million views collectively.
Content like this being posted on YouTube for free makes it accessible to viewers around the world, creating money for not only the content creators but for the company itself. Since YouTube was bought out by Google in 2006, the company has reached a net worth of $70 billion as reported by Bank of America in 2015.
Top creators have been given crews and have created consistent production and release schedules, making the release of their videos more like a daily or weekly episode of something you’d watch on TV. Creators are producing videos that become part of a series, and are high quality and entertaining.
In 2015, YouTube launched YouTube Red (now called YouTube Premium), a subscription service that allows subscribers to view all content ad-free, save videos for later offline viewing, and ad-free music streaming. The most desired feature of YouTube Premium is the exclusive series made by the biggest creators on the platform.
Currently, the service costs $10/month, which is pretty standard for other streaming services. But how does it compare? While Netflix and Hulu require payment for all of their content, YouTube still allows viewers to watch for free, making the Premium service more like an upgrade.
However, if you spend a lot of time on the platform and enjoy content from the creators, it’s a good deal. The shows included in the subscription vary in content, from drama series, documentaries, gaming, and talk shows.
One of the bigger series on the service is Escape the Night, a murder mystery show created by Joey Graceffa. This year saw the release of the third season. Each season features a brand new cast of other YouTubers, with a different theme and different characters.
The website has even created a way for creators to add videos to seasons and series, making a series of videos easily accessible and allows for consistent streaming and viewing.
This new era of YouTube content is making it competitive for streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, and is giving creators a chance to expand their boundaries in the world of online video making, and giving viewers well done and creative content. If you enjoy seeing a constant flow of exclusive content from your favorite creators, it might be in your interest to check out YouTube Premium, and maybe reconsider Netflix and Hulu.