YouTube’s upcoming redesign will dump its current navigation scheme using “channels” and instead funnel viewers into more traditional categories such as “Movies,” “Shows” (TV) and “Music.”
Looks like Google thinks amateur content, YouTube’s lifeblood to date, isn’t enough — or maybe just not good enough. Advertisers have felt that way for some time, given the video site’s history of failures in the ad arena.
Meanwhile, YouTube has cut a deal with Disney for limited content from its television unit, including the networks ABC and ESPN. Content will be mostly clips that will appear on branded pages, meaning this is largely a promotional pact. In order to watch ABC network shows, for example, you’ll sit through an ad, watch a teaser and then follow a link over to ABC.com for the real deal. Disney reportedly is near a deal to buy part of Hulu.
The web site ClickZ broke the story of YouTube’s redesign and shift to premium content.
“It’s totally a Hulu approach, but that’s best practices right now,” an ad exec told ClickZ.
The idea is to segregate premium (Hollywood, network) content from the works of the rabble. Three of the four navigation tabs will point to movies and TV shows, while the amateurs get one tab. The overall page designs could mitigate this imbalance, or make it worse. We’ll see soon enough as launch is set for April 16, after a delay.
The new YouTube player also will follow Hulu’s lead, the report said. YouTube went to a widescreen format for its video player at the end of 2008. (The Disney deal also brings its first third-party video player, from ESPN.)
TV.com’s redesign recently “borrowed” Hulu’s layout and presentation for its redesign.
The ad presentation for YouTube also will be similar to Hulu, with the spots in-stream so most viewers will sit through them.
YouTube’s monstrous traffic of 100 million monthly visitors hasn’t coverted into revenues, as the user-generated-content site struggled with various monetization schemes and annoying advertising placements.
“They need the money,” Mike Vorhaus, an online media consultant, said of YouTube and ABC. The move to premium content is “how they’re going to get it,” he told the New York Times.
Advertisers will feel more at home now, since they don’t think much of populist video presentations, UGC long being a dog for revenue.
Ad execs were said to be enthusiastic about the YouTube redesign previews. Let’s hope Google isn’t putting its stamp on the design scheme: Big G’s page designs have always sucked like it’s 1999 and at least three of the top Google designers have walked in recent weeks.
One problem with all this: YouTube’s premium content consists of mostly studio and network catalog retreads.
My prediction for launch date April 16: viewer firestorm.