As anyone who has ever watched YouTube can testify, online videos are popular with virtually everyone. Children watch cartoon, teenagers watch music videos and adults watch news clips and interviews. As the internet grows and expands, so does the content available. Now, with Netflix and Hulu streaming to smart TVs and other digital media receivers, internet television has made it to the mainstream, replacing cable or satellite in many homes. Media production companies are well aware of this: as user interest grows and develops with increasing technology, companies are capitalizing on the changes.
YouTube, the most popular user-created content site on the internet, was launched in 2005. At YouTube’s launch, several other video content sites existed but few allowed users to post self-made movies in a free venue that can be shared and viewed worldwide. As the site grew in prominence, teachers started incorporating it into their classrooms, bloggers began making it a part of sharing information and news sources found it a unique way to share clips with their viewers. Today, over one billion unique users visit the site each day while companies like CBS and BBC have created partnerships with YouTube to share their own content.
Starting in 2006, Netflix, a video distributor dealing in DVDs and internet content, and Hulu, a fully internet-based content provider, redefined the way the internet users can watch and share syndicated and original content. Hulu, a joint venture free service owned by NBC, Fox and Disney-ABC also offering a paid subscription option called Hulu Plus, has over three million paid customers while Netflix boasts over 36 million subscribers.
As subscription–based content grows, so does the need for something unique. Netflix and Hulu have established their dominance over their corner of the market but have long been searching for a way to outshine one another. The answer, seemingly, is custom created content. Both Netflix and Hulu offer content created specifically for their services not shown anywhere else on the web. With this concept looming, other companies are logically trying to elbow their ways in. Amazon, for example, has recently announced plans to create unique content for the Huffington Post. Additionally, CNN has partnered with BuzzFeed, a popular humor and news media content page featuring largely written articles and feature stories intended to depict the internet as it stands, to create CNN BuzzFeed, a new breed of news-based sharable content aimed at young adults.
As the internet changes, so does the way we use it. With the success of YouTube, Netflix and Hulu, companies can clearly see the profit potential. The decline of print-based media outlets has given way to video content and by integrating platforms, companies clearly see the utility in being able to reach out to more customers in more ways. With these sorts of newly developing partnerships, internet users are likely to see an increase in original video content designed to entertain and inform working its way into much-loved sites and services. Although it may seem like web-based video content has already made it to the mainstream, its current presence is just the beginning.