The Most Interesting Online Video Stories of 2013 — Part Two

/ Dec 23, 2013

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2. Online Video Becomes More Like TV

There are a lot of people who believe that online video (meaning those who create programming for the web) needs to look more like TV before it’s taken seriously. And while many would argue against that notion, and have actively been creating content formats that can’t be done on TV, you have to at least understand where that idea is coming from. Many still think big-name brands won’t put serious money behind online video until it shares the premium nature of TV.

Which is why it’s interesting that the two players who most actively worked toward creating TV content for the web, aren’t ad-supported. Netflix, beginning with “House of Cards” and through its venture into documentary and stand-up comedy films, is making film and TV content, but for a non-linear platform. Similarly, Amazon has also ventured into original programming, with big Hollywood talent attached, as it rolls out an array of comedy, drama, and kids programming. Again, neither run pre-rolls (though if Netflix did, that might become the most expensive piece of real-estate anywhere).

Others who do monetize from ads have also pushed into TV-like original programming. Crackle continues to produce original content for its ad-supported streaming network, with some shows like “Chosen” and “Aim High” standing high in terms of quality. Hulu has been signing co-production deals with the likes of the BBC to bring “original shows” to US audiences. On YouTube, Freddie Wong and Matt Arnold pushed out the second season of “Video Game High School” and AwesomenessTV launched “Side Effects,” both of which could easily be available on a kids network on TV.

1. The Music Industry & YouTube: The Ultimate Frenemies

Could there be any other? Yes, Netflix had a big year. But the relationship between the music industry and those who produce content on YouTube has never been more complicated, and more ripe for analysis.

You’ve heard a lot about this from us throughout the year. But to recap: Music is big on the world’s biggest site, and as a result has created a lot of issues for both rights-holders and content creators on YouTube. It’s a problem that doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon, as evidenced by the ongoing furor surrounding YouTube’s Content ID tool and its flagging of unlicensed (or improperly licensed) music across the site.

In 2013, YouTube also launched the first-ever YouTube Music Awards, which aimed to honor the top music creators and channels on the site, from mainstream artists like Eminem and Lady Gaga to YouTubers like Lindsey Stirling and DeStorm. As is the case with anything YouTube does, there was a lot of opinion surrounding the award show, from the way it was produced to who YouTube chose to recognize. I defended the show, and YouTube’s decision to make it weird and different. But regardless of which side you fall on in that debate, you can’t deny it, the show was interesting. What’s going on with YouTube and the music industry, in general, is very interesting.

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