The YouTube NextUp winners have been announced and I must say I'm pleased with the results, even as someone who was in the contest and did not win. After looking at SocialBlade's chart of all the NextUp contestants and their stats, a few things became apparent that may shed some light onto what YouTube is looking for in the future of its site and content.
1. YouTube NextUp judges selected winners from various genres.
They didn't stick with the proven music audience, the comedy sketch channels or makeup artists. While there are certainly a couple of those channels included, there's also an even mix of other genres that are much more niche channels and not as popular (yet) on YouTube, like skateboarding, travel, and tutorial channels.
Lesson 1: YouTube is interested in having a wide variety of channels and is even willing to support channels that are pretty niche specific. Like this creator, stonebreakers10, who does Lego videos (BrickFilming) :
2. YouTube favors engaged audiences, but will give others a voice.
As I look at SocialBlade's stats of NextUp winners, about half of the winners are bunched together at the top of the list with hundreds of thousands of subscribers and millions of views, but there's also a fair selection of winners who have audiences in the low thousands. In fact, two winners have under one thousand subscribers!
Lesson 2: YouTube is willing to give people with a strong potential for growth a chance to succeed even if they have an unproven audience.
My overall takeaway is that if you're an aspiring content creator for YouTube, get started and create videos that you love. YouTube is a place where anyone in any niche can earn an audience with dedication and perseverance.
Did YouTube change the contest rules?
As a side note, the official NextUp contest rules state that only the top 50 video entries to receive votes from the YouTube community would be judged for a spot as one of the 25 winners. The number of votes each video received has not been made available us, but it seems improbable that some of the winners were able to make it into the top 50 spots. I wonder if YouTube decided to judge everyone based on talent, availability and potential to grow instead of just the popular creators. If so, I definitely favor that approach.
QUESTION: What do you think YouTube is looking for in the future of its creators and content?