YouTube is about to look a lot more like traditional television. According to the Wall Street Journal, YouTube is hard at work on developing a group of scheduled channels. With top-quality content that adheres to a regular publishing schedule, YouTube hopes to grab larger chunks of viewers who may be more willing than ever to turn the TV off for good.
YouTube Scheduled Channels On The Way?
The reports indicate YouTube is close to launching as many as a dozen "scheduled channels," each with content centered around a particular topic, like "fashion" or "sports."
Google's official response to these rumors? It's typical:
"We don't comment on rumor or speculation."
From the sound of the Journal piece, this is that same effort toward new original content that we've been hearing rumors about for months. For a while, YouTube was said to be courting big names in Hollywood to develop original content. Now, the Journal's sources say they're paying out anywhere from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars, and that the professionals being courted will both create new content and curate existing content.
So in other words, they're trying to find a few famous people to curate channels by topic... to act as a bit of a channel host.
The scheduled channels aspect appears to be a new wrinkle, or at least a new concentration of the project. The idea is simple: if people know they can count on consistent new content at a certain day and time, they'll keep coming back for it.
That's why almost all the top YouTube creators launch new videos at the same time every week. It's why the YouTube Creator Playbook spends an entire section on the importance of following a regular video publishing schedule. Imagine a new broadcast TV show that premieres on a Monday at 7 to huge ratings... but then the following week airs unexpectedly on Wednesday at 8. That show would never build and sustain an audience.
In many ways, web video is the same way, at least in regard to building an audience. A consistent, regular schedule works best. So it makes perfect sense for YouTube's big push for original content to also include a scheduling element.
Maybe, in a way, we were wrong about YouTube all along? Maybe they don't want to replace TV... they want to be TV.