Google’s shift from narrow casting to broadcasting.

By richard | 20 January 2018

Earlier this week Google decided that it would shift from subsidising narrowcasting content makers to favouring "broadcasters". This was demonstrated with their shift towards rewarding content creators with higher requirements. In order to be a youtube partner, you need people to have viewed 4000hrs worth of content and have over 1000 subscribers.

A few years ago when you browsed Youtube you would easily browse through hundreds of videos before finding content worth watching. You would then browse and find more content. It was organic. 

In recent months I have noticed a shift towards the sensationalist and tabloid. Most headlines are now clickbait. As an experiment log out of Google and look at the top youtube content. 

Instead of seeing 16-30 videos you see ten videos. The content that they want you to see has been whittled down. This means that unless you have a big audience, clickbait titles and are already authoritative you will be invisible. The amateur aspect of Youtube is gone. It is being replaced by the authoritarianism of mass appeal. 

The Upside

There are hundreds of thousands of content creators that had accepted to have adverts as pre-roll, as banners or at the end of the videos. Google and Youtube no longer take advantage of the long tail.  Most of us create content that is seen a few hundred times and the revenue is minimal. Marketers still paid youtube for the visibility and youtube still made money off our backs. We were never going to see that money. It would have taken years for us to earn enough for an electronic transfer to be made. Youtube was the clear winner until they decided to stop making free money from us

The second upside is that we're going to be able to browse videos and find acceptable content more easily until recently we were forced to watch from 5 seconds to two minutes of advert before watching five seconds and clicking away. Without adverts, we will see the video is mediocre and move on sooner. 

The opportunity

When youtube was young it provided a unique opportunity because it gave us "unlimited" space and bandwidth for the sharing videos. Neither of these is scarce anymore. The barriers to sharing videos on our websites have decreased. HTML5 and above, h.265 and H.264 make it lighter for us to upload and share video content from our own websites.


Youtube was a great place for browsing and finding interesting content to watch but as algorithms and populism took over the website so the ease with which we could find random interesting content has decreased. From 30 videos to choose we have gone to five per theme. Everything is so curated that we watch what the crowd watches.