YouTube tells channel owners to focus on fanbases rather than audiences, gives stats on international reach of content


Speaking at MPITV in Cannes yesterday, Alex Carloss, the global head of entertainment at YouTube, gave his tips to channels owners about where they should be focusing their efforts. He said they should worry about building fanbases rather than audiences. Clarifying the semantic points he meant, he said, “An audience tunes in when they’re told to. A fanbase chooses when and what to watch. An audience changes the channel when their show is over. A fanbase shares, it comments, it curates and it creates.”

He singled out You Generation (Simon Cowell’s new YouTube-based talent platform) and Disney for praise as good examples of where they properly engage their audience (notably Disney embracing UGC that uses its material and music rather than aggressively shutting it down). Of most interest for music companies were the details he gave on the international reach of channels. He said, on average, 60% of views for a channel come from outside its home country and he talked about K-Pop here in particular. He revealed that 91% of views of K-Pop content now come from outside of South Korea (and the “lion’s share” from outside of Asia), showing how the genre has travelled internationally in recent years – primarily (Carloss claims) because of YouTube helping to break down international barriers between artists and fans.

While YouTube will flag up its importance for music (and as it looks to refine its subscription offering ahead of a mooted launch), that love is not being fully reciprocated in the music business and artist community. Yesterday we reported on Simon Wheeler from Beggars Group attacking YouTube and its plans to move into the subscription market, outlining the damage he feels it will cause not just existing players like Spotify and Rdio but also the negative impact it will have on record labels’ business models.

Billy Bragg joined Wheeler in his attacks on the same panel, saying, “YouTube is a much greater threat to creative viability than the emerging streaming services, undermining as it does the idea that you should pay for music.” He added, “YouTube undermines both copyright and remuneration agreements and needs to be challenged.” (For more on Bragg’s speech, see below.) Even though, with 1bn users globally, it is the biggest music service in the world, YouTube still has a lot of work to do to get the music industry fully onside, especially as regards issues of royalty payments and copyright protection.

In this week’s Sandbox (out tonight), we look at the rise of MCNs on YouTube for marketing and if their claims of expanding both reach and revenue are up to scratch.

Eamonn Forde

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