The way we consume video content has changed a lot over the years. Youtube still remains one of the most prominent sources for free consumption, but commercialization of the service has really helped creators put more money in production increasing the quality of content. A lot of Big content creators on Youtube really put a lot of effort into their videos, which are produced very professionally now, making the experience for viewers all the more enjoyable. But this commercialization also comes at a cost, which is well evident in the whole Youtube Rewind fiasco this year, being the most downvoted video on the platform.
Marques Brownlee’s Take
Quite surprisingly Marques made a video citing problems with YouTube Rewind, given he is always a part of it. The video sums up the problems with Youtube Rewind quite well. According to Marques, YouTube has progressively changed rewind to crater to ad providers rather than being a front for notable events. He also explains that rewind’s format has changed significantly over the years. Right now it is more of a montage with several creators and none of them get to stand out in the chaos.
The Problem Runs Deep
Downvotes on rewind show that Google and the community aren’t on the same page. YouTube was famous in the first place because it had unique content, content that was totally different from mainstream channels. But that is changing fast, Google clearly wants a more mainstream future for YouTube, something similar to services like Netflix and Prime. They launched the entire YouTube Red thing with paid premium content, partnering up with famous creators on the website.
But this monetization drive also comes at a cost, often in the form of censorship. Advertisers have very strict preferences and Google has to play ball because that is ultimately what runs the website. Although things weren’t this bad initially. The whole “Adpocalypse” started when PewDiePie posted some objectional content and WSJ picked it up, this alerted big brands who pulled off a ton of ads from the platform.
Can Things Improve?
Many creators are now seeing many of their videos get demonetized, so they either have to heavily censor their content or get funding from other sources. YouTube isn’t the only one to blame, because if brands start pulling off ads from YouTube, nobody gets paid.
The only viable way is to have the community fund their favorite creators, through patreon and other avenues. Because “Adpocalypse” is here to stay and it might get worse.
Coming Back To Rewind
YouTube isn’t going to feature controversial channels such as PewDiePie in rewind in the near future and honestly Felix doesn’t need it. But there are several up and coming channels which can really use rewind’s exposure to grow themselves. Maybe YouTube can create a community poll which they curate and ask the community what they would like to see, this way people still have a choice and YouTube can still exercise control.
Also the montage format needs to go, YouTube should look at rewinds before 2017 for inspiration. This year’s rewind wasn’t that bad, but it really failed to strike a chord with the community.