Top Five Emerging Programming Channels on YouTube

/ Jan 19, 2014


YouTube is the biggest sandbox for content creators on the web. A massive platform, with a massive audience, YouTube is open to everyone — whether you’re a charismatic individual who has a funny and compelling idea for a video, or a brand that just wants to open another “touchpoint” to engage with consumers.

Where it gets more interesting is if you’re the type of creator who wants to distribute programming on YouTube. If your dream is to create compelling shows, YouTube can be a place to do that. It’s just an incredibly difficult thing to be successful at when you’re always a glance or a click away from any potential viewer being distracted by another video.

“One of the most fascinating yet daunting elements of original programming on YouTube is the pure volume of content that currently exists,” says Oliver Schenkel, associate director of media/content at DigitasLBi. “It’s a bit of a double-edged sword in that there are currently endless opportunities for discovery of new original content, but at the same time there is amazing content being produced that goes unnoticed.”

Creators and programmers on YouTube are always focused on finding a way to turn the audience for one “episode” into a following that comes back on a regular basis. That’s because consistent viewership not only validates the time and effort you put into creating an original series, but is also the key to turning YouTube from being a hobby to an actual living. It’s only after you find an audience — after consumers start paying attention to your channel — that advertisers come calling.

By now, you know the top “shows” on YouTube. From Ray William Johnson’s “=3” to Pemberley Digital’s Jane Austen adaptations, there is hit programming on the platform. And if you’re an advertiser waiting for YouTube to offer more content that’s “dependable,” then you’re in luck: “A rapidly growing number of content creators on YouTube are shifting towards episodic programming,” says Schenkel. “The hope is that this shift will lead to more dependable viewership patterns, which in turn will lead to increased opportunities for advertisers.”

So who are some of these up-and-coming programming channels? The ones that you might not know about right now, but should keep an eye out for — especially if you’re a brand or an agency. Thanks to DigitasLBi and Outrigger Media’s OpenSlate analytics platform, with data from OpenSlate’s Emerging Talent Tracker product, we are able to surface some of these channels. We’ll call them the top emerging “programming channels” on YouTube*. As you’ll see, the list is as diverse as YouTube is.

5. TheChernoProject

  • SlateScore: 455
  • Total Subs: 23,363
  • Monthly Views: 143,800

By now, I don’t have to tell you that games, and gaming content, is huge on YouTube. So it shouldn’t be too surprising to see TheChernoProject on this list. The channel is home to “Game Programming,” a web series in which the creators provide an in-depth look at how to create a game from scratch. If that’s not a different and interesting way to cut into the massive gaming audience on YouTube, then I don’t know what is. Networked with Machinima (who else?), this channel currently scores 8.2/10 in terms of influence.

4. MindStuffShow

  • SlateScore: 478
  • Total Subs: 25,797
  • Monthly Views: 69,360

The MindStuffShow channel from TestTube, Discovery Digital Networks’ knowledge-loving video network, is where you can find the “Stuff to Blow Your Mind” web series. With new episodes rolling out every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, hosts Julie Douglas and Robert Lamb offer viewers cool and interesting facts about anything and everything — all designed to entertain and inform — on a consistent basis. Topics can range from all the wonders of outer space, to why certain memes go viral, to the science behind why we’re all a bunch of liars, to the end of the world as we know it.

3. Zagat

  • SlateScore: 490
  • Total Subs: 16,269
  • Monthly Views: 201,870

Yes, Zagat has a YouTube channel. And no, it’s not only a place for restaurant and food reviews. The channel offers an array of original series, from “Off the Grid” (great eateries that you actually have to go looking for) to “Bizarre Bites” (weird food). Don’t worry, though, if you’re just interested in finding the next great place to eat at in a certain city, Zagat’s channel has you covered. If you want to learn how to prepare some delicious dishes, or just how to eat like a mannered human being, Zagat’s channel is on that as well. As measured by OpenSlate, Zagat rates 8.7/10 in terms of influence, which shouldn’t be surprising considering the brand that we’re talking about.

2. AdamCarolla

  • SlateScore: 515
  • Total Subs: 31,649
  • Monthly Views: 84,870

Adam Carolla runs one of the most popular podcasts on the web, “The Adam Carolla Show.” In a fashion similar to some regional sports network programming — particularly in New York, where radio is still huge — the team behind “The Adam Carolla Show” has been recording the free podcasts and putting them on YouTube. It’s a strategy that seems to be working, as the channel currently scores 8.8/10 in terms of influence. The channel offers full episodes, which can often run close to two hours, as well as shorter clips focusing on individual segments. One recent segment was with a name that many people know on YouTube: Harley Morenstein of “Epic Meal Time,” who came on to talk about the McRib, among other things.

1. YouGenerationTV

  • SlateScore: 583
  • Total Subs: 599,590
  • Monthly Views: 2,386,680

When Simon Cowell first launched “You Generation,” a competition series devoted to uncovering talented people from across the world, he said the difficulty with YouTube was/is that with “so many videos being uploaded” to the platform every minute, it’s hard for talented people to get their name out there and be found. “You Generation” aims to solve that by simplifying the process: Anyone can upload a video of their talent, and if it’s good enough, be able to compete for a chance to win cash prizes (and with 600,000 subscribers, to potentially be found as well). The format is perfect for the younger YouTube audience. And very astutely, the team behind “You Generation” (which includes MCN partner Base79) has brought on prominent YouTubers like Tyler Oakley to help create content that fits this audience, whenever it’s not busy trying to upload the next, great video to compete in the series.

* As measured by increasing influence, with stats dated to January 15.


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