YouTube gains on traditional TV

Eric Schmidt, chairman  and chief executive of Google was interviewed in the FT over the weekend and talked about the rise of YouTube.

According to Schmidt, roughly 15 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded every minute by a global audience. The figures are staggering, and he rightly points out that you can also sense the impact that YouTube is having due to the controversies it is spawning.

The growth of YouTube clearly  underlines the significance of social media and its potential importance to the communications programmes of companies. Schmidt says: ‘It’s an audience far larger than what traditional television sees; it’s a global audience.’

Despite the rise of YouTube, many companies are still ploughing huge sums into traditional TV communications campaigns. As social media continues to increase in influence, budget allocations are going to have to change. The money needs to go where the customers are.

There are many examples of companies looking to harness the power of YouTube but those that are successful tend to be ones who approach the content in a less corporate way. It has to be more individualistic, more personal, useful to your networks and often fun to be shared and passed on. Companies have also got to be prepared to experiment to see what works best.

And of course the staggering  rise of YouTube underlines the value of video and video clips as a means of communication. Companies need to start using video more to enter into conversations with their audiences and they need to start talking to those audiences in meaningful ways ie they must offer genuine value to their audiences.  Spin will not work. Otherwise people will just continue to watch their own favourite videos and ones recommended by their friends and peers and companies will struggle to get a look in.

You cannot buy attention through YouTube or social media; you have to earn it.

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