YouTube Red - Joe Pulizzi at The Content Marketing Institute

A Note from Joe Pulizzi at CMI

And Social Media Taketh Away

Have you heard about YouTube’s new Red subscription program? YouTube Red is the company's answer to Netflix, Hulu, and every other paid video content service (it will be offered at about $10 per month and will include premium + regular YouTube content — without ads).

TechCrunch reported last week that YouTube approached all its “partner” creators (people who generate advertising royalties from their YouTube pages) with an “offer they couldn’t refuse.” Basically, if the partners don't sign a new agreement to license their content on Red (at a 55% royalty rate), YouTube will make their content private.

Just think about that. Let’s say you had a million subscribers on YouTube, or even a thousand. What choice would you really have? Would you just flush those assets down the toilet?

Here’s the cold, hard truth: Your YouTube videos are not your assets. They are YouTube’s assets. You don’t own those subscriber connections — YouTube does. We’ve seen this happen before — and very recently. After Facebook’s latest algorithm change, how much of your content on Facebook are your fans really seeing? And after LinkedIn redesigned its groups? And after Twitter took away its tweet counts so you have to pay for its API? And after SlideShare moved from free leads to paid leads? And… well, don’t get me started about Google+…

I don’t have any problem with YouTube, or any other social media platform, making changes like this. It’s perfectly within their rights to make any business decision they feel will drive revenues or profits.

But you don’t have to play their games. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and now YouTube. They are changing the rules all the time, now; and they are doing so with alarming speed. Expect them to keep making more of these changes.

The prescription? I would start every morning with the possibility that your social media platform of choice could disappear at any moment. Use it now, and extract as much value as you can from each platform, but understand that the rules can, and will, most definitely change.

Don’t build your content house on rented land. Instead, consider building on a more stable, reliable foundation, such as a content program that drives subscriber growth.

Yours in content,

Joe Pulizzi
Content Marketing Institute