The What’s the Point of YouTube Panel was on Sunday at Summer in the City 2016 on the Main Stage.
Over the course of the panel, the group discussed the difference between mainstream media and YouTube, the importance of views and frequent uploads, and audience input. It featured creators Adrian Bliss, Ben Brown, Steve Booker, and Suli Breaks.
Across the board, the thing that stuck out as the main benefit of YouTube versus a more traditional media, such as television, was the freedom creators have. As the sole people in charge of their own content and the topics that they want to focus on, many creators on the panel loved the fact that they could have creative control. Of course, there are instances when working with brands or companies when this may be limited, but they still have an incredible amount of input into what the final product will be; it’s a pretty equal partnership.
Another pro was that although YouTube is notoriously competitive, individually the panellists felt that they do have room to try various styles and explore creatively, especially because their topical choices are a bit niche, ranging from cars and coffee to spoken word poetry. Steve Booker pointed out that if your audience trusts you, they’ll stick with you as you try out different projects.
Similarly, many of the panellists create longer form content that take months at a time to produce, such as Ben Brown’s Visual Vibes series. The quality and time that goes into those videos is pretty much the exact opposite of what the YouTube algorithm preaches; quantity versus quality and a regular schedule. All the panellists explained that, again, it comes down to the trust and support of their audience to ensure that they don’t feel pressured to compromise their content with things they aren’t necessarily as passionate about.
Steve admitted that he still struggles with finding this balance of keeping his audience happy with semi-frequent uploads and doing bigger, more time-consuming projects.
Adrian, who has been on the platform for a while but only recently gained real traction with his satirical series Vlogvember and Vlune, explained that both stories actually developed because of the comment sections. After seeing people playing along with the character and the jokes, Adrian was able to direct the story to what people would like to see. Again, because of the freedom of YouTube and no obligation to submit a script beforehand to anyone, the content was completely adaptable.
Photos by Jon D Barker.
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