by Declan Murphy
So a couple of weeks back, The Fine Bros accidentally unleashed an Internet hate-storm above their own heads. This was all down to them taking out a copyright over ReactWorld and related brands, including Kids React & Elders React. Although the ‘reaction’ over the whole fracas has been covered to near-death, the potential fallout for the future of content creation hasn’t.
When it’s boiled down to its absolute fundamentals, the struggle to satisfy is between two sides; the ‘Internet’ or put plainly, the everyday user and the big bad capitalist overlords of the web. Well, not so much capitalist overlord, more so a business trying to protect its assets, but that difference in definition is down primarily to who you speak to about the issue.
This issue isn’t a newly developed one, it’s been around for quite a while. When Facebook moved over to algorithms and resultantly increased the amount of ads displaying it led to some questioning who Zuckerberg’s business was really catering to. Just recently Twitter announced plans to do the same. The move was met with #RIPTwitter trending globally.
And it’s all well and good looking at the picture as a whole, but for today I want to focus on just content creation, specifically YouTube and the triangle of parties it has to satisfy.
The triangle I speak of consists of us everyday watchers or Consumers, the Content Creators and Advertisers who use the platform to display their goods and services for sale. Each party has an issue with at least one other and it leads to a very hard balancing act for Alphabet and YouTube to deal with.
First let’s look at Consumers. Without us the site makes no money, so by extension many feel that the site should cater to us first and foremost. Which is why sects of the community get annoyed with more advertising present on the site. This leads to YouTube and Advertisers feeling the brunt of the Consumers distaste.
Next we can look at Advertisers. Advertisers main aim is to promote their product, YouTube helps them do this by placing their ads on videos which are best for their target demographic. An example would be placing a PlayStation advert on a Let’s Play of The Last of Us. But in response to increased advertising some users now use programs like AdBlock in order to bypass advertising. This means Advertisers either move away from YouTube in light of reduced influence of their ads or instead move to have their ads in videos directly by using links with Content Creators.
Speaking of which, Content Creators. Content Creators have the hardest job of the three parties by a long way. Creators make their lion’s share of money from advertising so when people use AdBlock it is directly impacting on their income, which means they turn to direct ad placement in videos as a way to combat it. Guess who isn’t happy about that? Yup, Consumers.
Admittedly it isn’t all Consumers who are angry about YouTube’s increased advertising but it is a large enough portion of them for Youtube and its affiliates to feel a drop in revenue. That being said, most Consumers understand or at least think they understand the mechanics behind YouTube’s policies. The main difference therefore is Consumers feelings on whether they are okay or understanding of YouTube’s need to advertise. Whereas most are okay with advertising, an awful lot of people were up in arms about The Fine Bros incident, even some Creators.
Having hopefully explained at least some of the intricacies in regards to YouTube’s advertising policy, we can look ahead and whether we will see anything like the stunt The Fine Bros pulled in the near-future.
And the answer is probably not. Given the ‘reaction’ it got, I highly doubt any other YouTuber or group would try to do something like what The Fine Bros did. And that isn’t because it is the wrong thing to do. A lot of content on YouTube is unique and Content Creators in my opinion should protect it. That being said, they won’t protect their unique IPs or series or whatever you want to call it because they’ve seen the ‘reaction’ The Fine Bros got and don’t want to be the next channel to lose 400,000+ subs.
When we look at the distant future, the answer is a bit different. It is dependant on a lot more factors due to its longer timeframe. Most notable factor is what avenue Alphabet go down in terms of what videos are being put out onto the site. Even today, a lot of Creators have noticed their content disappearing from the feeds of their audience and it is scary from their perspective due to their dependance on views for income. If YouTube continue this trend of controlling what people see it is all the more likely we will see more outrage from audiences.
However YouTube isn’t the only horse in the race, Facebook’s video service is starting to contest and with that goes audience numbers. So it’s just as likely YouTube will start placing priority on audience numbers, only time will tell.