Anyone can upload a video to YouTube, but while the video site started as a resource for amateur content creators, as that talent began to develop many learned quickly that they could hold their own against professional production outfits, and make money in the process. That’s made things a lot more complicated for the Google-owned online video platform. Now, rather than being Google’s alone, everybody in the entertainment industry seems to be after a piece of the YouTube pie, including competing video sites.
It all starts with content creators, many of whom have become celebrities themselves, recognizable to the masses, and with millions of followers on YouTube and elsewhere. Realizing how significant that level of popularity is, many YouTube stars find themselves wanting to cash in on this fame. YouTube doesn’t have many mechanisms for allowing them to do that, but rivals are all too happy to step in and fill that gap.
YouTube rival Vimeo has recently partnered with well known MCN Maker Studios to steer YouTube talent towards a paid VOD model using Vimeo’s platform. Vessel, a startup founded by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, has also been busy signing up YouTube stars. For $3 a month, Vessel subscribers will get exclusive early access to content before it appears on YouTube. Even the titans of the media industry are getting involved, with Disney, Warner Bros., and other studios investing big money in YouTube-based MCNs, and bringing some of that talent to television and movie screens.
On the social front, another big piece of YouTube’s business, Facebook’s Instagram and Twitter’s Vine are both stealing some of YouTube’s thunder, making it easy to create and share short videos as opposed to the more long-form content churned out by professional YouTubers.