Forget Keyboard Cat, Online Video is Changing

By on Dec 12 2011 at 8:00 AM

NPR had an interesting trends piece last Friday that examined how the influx of professional and original content is altering the online video landscape. Quoting from the article:

Up to this point, it's been a lot of amateur videos on YouTube and old movies and TV shows on Netflix and Hulu. But all three services are now starting to feature their own professionally made videos, featuring big names like Kevin Spacey, Deepak Chopra and Madonna.

While there will always be a place for "Keyboard Cat" and "David After Dentist," the state of online video is clearly shifting toward broadcast-quality content. David Fincher and Kevin Spacey are attached to Netflix’s original political thriller “House of Cards.” The streaming media and DVD delivery service also made waves when it announced it will produce new episodes of the cult Fox comedy “Arrested Development.” 

The move to produce original programming has been attributed in part to the rising costs of licensing content from TV networks and movie studios. It may be more cost effective for online video broadcasters to make their own programming.

Most notable in this sense has been YouTube, which recently unveiled a massive site redesign that places a premium on professionally produced content. The revamped Google video site leverages leading brands and celebrities to attract viewers. YouTube also introduced a number of UX tweaks that emphasize video channels containing content from “Madonna, Jay-Z and actor Ashton Kutcher.” Overall, Google spent over $100 million on the digital face-lift, although Mark Cuban questions if that is enough to make the site competitive with cable and broadcast TV.

More than half of Americans consume online video on a regular basis. As demand increases for engaging viewing experiences and personalized video content, expect more programmers to head in the direction of professionally produced, original online content. Just as cable revolutionized the way people consumed video 30 years ago, these new online offerings are poised to dramatically improve how—and what—we watch.

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