So far, 2014 is already shaping up to be a good year for the Web video world. At least based on the early potential demonstrated by the new daily Web series YouTube Nation.
The show, the result of a partnership between DreamWorks Animation and YouTube, launched earlier this week with some real promise. Just a few days into its life, the channel, which posts new clips Monday through Friday at 6 p.m. Los Angeles time, already boasts half a dozen videos (the most popular of which boasts 71,300 views) and around 45,000 subscribers. Not quite as viral as the videos it spotlights, but a respectable start.
The format of the series itself is nothing particularly innovative: think short media spotlight promo like the ones we're all used to experiencing in other video outlets followed by a compilations of clips and hosts providing funny voiceover commentary. However, it succeeds at what it sets out to do. That is, to make the massive repository of YouTube's content actually consumable by spotlighting the most popular and interesting videos every day.
Sure, the mechanics and reasoning behind what makes a video 'interesting' is sometimes a little murky, and may be weighted heavily by the show's curators' personal taste (which is fine). But the majority of the picks seem to have been selected in a refreshingly democratic way, weighing view counts and viewer suggestions.
The result so far is a nice mix of what's currently trending on YouTube and the wide range of the hidden obscure corners of YouTube's millions of videos. Not a bad way to filter through those 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube each minute.
The one thing I do question about this format is its ability to create a following of regular viewers (crucial to succeed on YouTube) since there is nothing about the show in itself that is particularly groundbreaking or attention-grabbing—as if by design. The videos take the lead. Yes, the hosts are plenty charismatic, Nation proves to be a fantastic reference for the vastness of YouTube, one that could lead to hours of gleeful procrastination (damn you Henri Le Chat Noir). But it could use some more personality.
Nevertheless, YouTube Nation is highly recommend as a starting point for your daily Web adventures, since you might discover some hidden gems somewhere along the way.