You(r)Tube

As a self-admitted YouTube junkie I could spend hours (majority of my day) getting sucked into the video rabbit hole, channel surfing until I realize I’m watching a video of someone doing their laundry or getting their hair done. In all honesty, I have YouTube running in another tab while writing this. To me this is just another viewing platform to binge videos like others binge episodes on Netflix or Hulu. I never questioned or thought twice about my own viewing until a friend asked what the appeal was for watching vloggers and other videos of that nature. This question stumped me. Why was I so invested in these random people’s lives?

While pondering this question I decided to look further into YouTube and discover if other people utilize the service the same way I do and why they do so. In an article I found, YouTube accounts for two-thirds of the premium online video watched by millennials. This means that even with giants like Netflix and Amazon, younger users are still drawn towards YouTube and its fast paced style with content that’s not found on any other current platform. I, well my parents, have subscriptions to most of the big streaming platforms as well as a few premium channels however I tend to only utilize these services when watching with other people.

YouTube itself debuted a premium content channel called YouTube red that costs $9.99/month as well as unveiled a new feature where for $5/month per YouTuber you can gain access to extra content from them on top of their originally scheduled content. A description of the service says its offers “include the custom badges and exclusive emoji” as well as any other perks the creator wants to include. I personally don’t see the appeal of purchasing these because I believe youtube should be a platform for anyone and everyone. I think this is what differentiates YouTube from their streaming competitors allowing them to attack a different market and house a greater amount of content as 400 hours of video are uploaded every minute.

YouTube has created such an empire that when asked to number a mixture of celebrities and YouTubers on their influence YouTubers took the top 6 spots over A-list celebrities. While most of them are gamers as we’ve mentioned before in class, I think the diverse content is a big driver for the success of the platform.

My 9 and 12 year old cousins can watch minecraft videos while I’m watching a lifestyle vlog from a girl in her 20s and my mom’s watching a home improvement video of how to fix the leak in the sink. This is what I personally love about YouTube and why I’m most interested in knowing what people watch. I have my favorite avenues and topics but I’m also willing to try any suggestions or favorites my friends have. It creates such a unique community bringing together completely different people bonded over one subject matter or video figure.

“A kid trying to explain to his mum why Stampy Does Minecraft is worth watching hours on end is simply a 21st century rerun of kids trying to convince their parents of the musical worth of Elvis, the Beatles, the Sex Pistols and so on. That is the entire point of a youth culture – older generations aren’t meant to get it,” he added. I think this quote sums up my feelings on why people’s use of YouTube shouldn’t be questioned. While I don’t watch anything crazy, I still tend towards putting on Netflix while in Hillside or other places I may have taken my laptop out to watch something. I recognize this every time I go to type in YouTube, realize where I am and settle for an episode of New Girl that I’ve seen about 13 times already. I get less questions from my parents than my peers on my viewing habits which surprises me because I know most of them also watch YouTube. I think if it’s the type of content you want to be watching there should be no reason for you not to explore it. I’ve learned just as much if not more from the lengthy time I’ve spent on youtube than I have from most regular television shows. On average, users spend at least 40 minutes watching during one viewing session and we watch over 1 billion hours of YouTube videos a day which is more than Netflix and Facebook video combined.

After delving into YouTube facts and articles I realized that it just makes sense to be obsessed with it. With the amount of content continually released there’s no need for scouring different Netflix categories for 20 minutes to decide to watch something you’ve already seen before. There are infinite options for watching and that only allows for people to become attached to youtubers and their daily lives. There are certain YouTubers I’ve been watching for upwards of 5 years and that’s more dedicated than I’ve been to any TV show.

Now, I’m not sure if this blog taught anyone anything or was just a platform for me to convince my YouTube addiction is okay but next time you’re not sure what to watch dive into YouTube and you just might find something you like.

Would you pay for the additional YouTube features? Also drop anyone you watch in the comments!!

10 comments

  1. Since I am part of the older millennial generation, YouTube was always a place that I strictly went to and watched music videos of up and coming artists. It was and has always been a music platform for me. Your obsession for it strikes a different chord naturally as I never would think to replace Netflix or Hulu with YouTube. As more video platforms take the stage, I am less inclined to go to YouTube for the purposes that you have expressed. I would not think twice about paying for YouTube Red for extra content and agree with your point there.

  2. I can totally relate to opting to put on Netflix when I am in public rather than YouTube. I am not sure why I feel somewhat embarrassed to say that I am obsessed with YouTube, but I don’t feel that way about Netflix. I completely agree that YouTube is special because there is so much creative content that Netflix and Hulu could never match. There is a YouTube channel for literally any topic and thousands of people who address any topic in different ways. I think this is great because if you are into the fashion industry, you can find a youtuber who may have the same body type and style as you, allowing you to explore new brands that you may not have before. I am not sure I would ever pay for YouTube because I think the idea of creatively expressing content on an accessible platform is what makes YouTube so appealing, but we will see how it evolves as social media evolves. Great post and love to see big YouTube fans!

  3. I find YouTube vloggers so interesting, and I really do think they have a huge impact on consumers right now. I’m actually considering doing my in-class presentation on this topic. I once read a case study (yes, in my free time) that found that consumers who watched vlogs reviewing certain products had overall higher brand perceptions and purchase intentions than those who did not. Results were even greater when it came to luxury products, and also greater depending on a given vlogger’s number of YouTube subscribers. Given these findings, I am not surprised that companies are now paying thousands of dollars for famous vloggers to review their products. Some companies are even debuting new products inspired by vloggers. L’Oreal, for example, recently came out with a new line inspired by Michelle Phan, an extremely popular beauty vlogger with over 4.5 million subscribers.

  4. My friends make fun of me because I watch a lot of content. I watch basically every Netflix original, and I watch a lot of Youtube. It’s honestly just something I enjoy. I like Youtube content because it is short. The average video I would watch would be anywhere from 5-25mins. So it is perfect for taking a quick study break, and not getting sucked into an hour long episode. As you were saying I love the variety. I watch a handful of vloggers, but I prefer commentary style videos better. Basically people just talking about and making fun of things (Cody Ko & Noel Miller are pretty funny if you have never watched them!). But I also love watching stand-up comedy videos or clips from Jimmy Fallon! I think it is a very versatile platform. I think paying for content is a little much. I understand them making original content like Netflix, and I’m trying to find the best time to use my free trial lol. But I don’t think I should have to pay to watch Youtubers, that’s the beauty of it!

  5. I have certainly found YouTube a helpful tool to always be on in the background, there is no doubt about that. I would go as far as saying sometimes I search things on youtube before I even head to google. I am a visual person and would much rather have someone talk me through how to do something read through instructions. I have also found that the algorithms that YouTube uses are lot more effective on me than that of what Netflix uses, a lot of the time I am turned off by what they recommend I like. I think there is something that can be said about sites like these you feel more connected to the people in the videos, feel more real from my perspective.

  6. I think I used to only go to YouTube to watch clips of videos or shows that I never had subscriptions for back in the day (10 years ago). With copyright laws, it was obviously very hard to find videos unless you found something outside of YouTube and pay for it, but there was always a slight hope that YouTube would have a clip or two. Then YouTube became a place for me to watch random prank videos, and it wasn’t until my undergrad years that I started to see a trend of people vlogging. With the newer generation, it seems like a lot of high school seniors even like to share their entire college application process, including rejections and acceptances. With that said, I’ve been on YouTube since forever and always found the appeal to be you can post any video on anything you want as long as it fits within the confines of the site’s policy. Ultimately, YouTube has turned into a money making machine with their platform with YouTube Premium and TV. With the ability to make a living off YouTube if you have a big following, it’s no wonder people continue to flock back to the site and watch people that they can relate to or find entertaining. I think the platform will continue to grow and garner more interest as a place to find any sort of multimedia videos.

  7. I personally have never gotten invested in watching specific YouTubers, but I can definitely see the appeal from watching some of the viral videos that are posted. This makes my answer easy, I would not pay for the additional features that YouTube will be offering, but I think it could be a smart business move to squeeze even more cash out of their platform. YouTube still seems easier to me if I only want to take a short break from studying, or work. Its easy to watch a couple videos and move on, where I find it more difficult to stop after watching only a few minutes of a show on Netflix. Maybe this is where some of the popularity stems from as well – to me it seems like users would more frequently visit the site than they would other streaming services, and as a result may end up actually spending more time on the platform. I only pull up Netflix or Hulu when I know I have a long break, or am done my other obligations for the day.

  8. I can definitely relate in that I actually watch significantly more YouTube content than I do Netflix content. I think there is something about the quickly informative aspect of YouTube that I appreciate. Rather than watch an hour and a half documentary on Netflix, I’ll search for a shorter summary on YouTube. Yes, I do think this speaks to my impatience, but I also think it speaks to the value behind YouTube: you can actually learn something (whether it be as insignificant as meme culture) in a 10-minute video from a content creator simply using their personal camera. Additionally, I’ve always appreciated the relatability behind YouTube and I think that is why I gravitate towards its platform so much more than others. Personally, I don’t have any channels that I consume enough to spend $5/month for additional content, but there are definitely people who consistently view specific channels that would be interested in this type of content. There’s a lot of trust between YouTuber’s and their viewers that I think leverages this possibility.

  9. When asked whether I would choose to strictly watch Netflix or YouTube for the rest of my life, I would choose YouTube in a heartbeat. It’s interesting that you’ve brought up the point about opting to watch Netflix when you’re in public because I’ve never quite felt that way. I believe that nothing can ever replace YouTube. It’s the go-to site for literally all of your needs- cooking, music, lifestyle, fashion, education, the list is endless. I’m definitely guilty of watching hours of someone else’s life through their vlogs. Like you mentioned, there are YouTubers who I’ve been watching for over ten years now, and it’s at the point where I feel connected to them. I’ve been supporting them since the start of their journey, and I’ve witnessed all of their life stages and milestones. I’ve become so invested. I love that anyone can become a content creator with a click of a button, and it connects individuals in immeasurable ways. It allows people to share their hobbies, talents, knowledge, and lives with others, and I think that that is of invaluable appeal.

  10. For me, the real value of YouTube comes from the niche categories that people can find there. Like what Deb said above, you can get any type of content from YouTube. However, what’s truly impressive for me is not the breadth of videos (which is amazing in its own right) but the depth of the content.

    What I mean is that I can not only search for videos reviewing new or classic cars (for example) but I can watch a video on how to disassemble a 1986 Trans Am engine when you encounter a specific leaky gasket. I can watch a video on someone reviewing the newest Macbook, or I can watch a 45-minute video examining a particular mechanical keyboard switches. And the most incredible thing is that people really do watch videos that are this specific! There are mechanical keyboard aficionados that love this type of content (this video has >300K views: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plFuFFMbdlk), and the same can be said for the smallest niches.

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