Online games news Tedious Retro Gamer, 13-05-2023
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YouTube is about to crack down on one, tiny aspect of their platform, which might lead to beginning of the end for this giant streaming provider.
Recently, a new man was put in charge of YouTube, and it looks like his approach to the future of the platform is completely different from his predecessor’s. How can we tell? By introduction of something that you must have seen dozens of times, mostly on websites belonging to media platforms - the "switch off your adblock" pop-ups. Yes, boys and girls, YouTube is going to force you to switch off your adblock or pay for the premium subscription.
On surface, it is understandable, like in the case of most such moves by media platforms, they are trying to keep their product sustainable, so they try to maximize income from advertising. After all, they do have to cover the bills of running that platform, pay their employees, so of course it is in their interest to keep the ad revenue high. On the other hand, such changes usually bring a drastic drop in viewership, which makes it a risky move.
YouTube, however, is in a slightly different position than other media companies - they do not (apart from a handful of Originals) produce anything themselves. They are providing a platform to a lot of creators, but that content belongs to those creators, it is only stored on YouTube. So, on one hand, those creators can move to another platform (unlikely scenario since YouTube dominates the market) or diversify to other platforms. Why would they do that?
A few years back, YouTube did something that should have been met with a bigger response from the community, the famous Adpocalypse. With one swift move, they cut off a lot of creators from the possibility of monetizing their videos and drastically cut off their income from ads. Youtubers, of course, turned to suppliers like Patreon to fill the gap in their income. Not many of them actually quit the platform completely because YouTube gives them easy access to one of the biggest audiences there is. So they were getting peanuts from YouTube and the normal income from platforms like Patreon. The recent change in YouTube policy could remove the most important factor that kept those creators on the platform - accessibility.
With more and more intrusive advertising on YouTube (recently they introduced 6–7 ads on the home page alone, ads during live streams without any warning), some people, who do not use adblocks or alternative apps, will stop using YouTube. The tiny percentage of people, who actually use the YouTube Premium will not cover the lost viewership, it will be less likely for new users to discover some small channels, so it will be a drastically less attractive option for creators to be present on the platform. If creators stop using it, this will also decrease the number of viewers that will use the platform.
For a few years now, YouTube has been in this weird place - they are dominating the market, but still trying to expand. They introduced #shorts, which turned the interface into a garbage bin and brought misery to a lot of users, they cut off a lot of small creators from monetizing their videos, they introduced far more intrusive ads, they spent millions on bringing "talent" from Twitch (which often ends up in disaster, like in case of Sykkuno) and now they try to force people to watch ads or pay for Premium.
Is this the beginning of the end for YouTube? Probably not, but on the other hand, Google killed off most of their products in the past, they have been ruining the user experience on their products for decades now, so... who knows?
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