YouTube’s Original Channels May Be Doing Better Than You Think

By Megan O'Neill 

When YouTube announced their foray into original content nearly a year ago, nobody was sure what to expect.  What would the channels and content be like?  How would they perform?  Nine months after the first original channels hit the video sharing site, YouTube Head of Content Strategy Jamie Byrne reports that the original channels are on par to be “the next great media brands.”

Ad Age, who have been on top of the growth of the original channels with their YouTube Original Channel Tracker, reported today that 20 of the new original channels are now earning a million views a week.  Additionally, Mallory Russell, who spoke with Jamie Byrne about the performance of the original channels, writes, “More importantly to YouTube, 25 of the new channels have more than 100,000 subscribers.  Only 2% of YouTube channels overall ever reach that number, so the channels YouTube has invested in are outperforming on that one metric.”  Subscriber counts are incredibly important, Russell points out, as subscribers tend to watch twice as much content on a channel than non-subscribers.

While 1 million views a month and 100,000 subscribers may not sound huge at this point, Byrne says, “We think that these channels that we’re launching are the next great media brands.  It’s like the early days of cable.  The networks that launched back then have become great media brands.  And we think we’re in a very similar time.”

Byrne pointed out that the YouTube original content channels have a leg up over traditional television thanks to their ability to iterate, i.e. “the ability to listen to your audience and change your programming.”

Check out Ad Age’s great interview with Byrne to find out more about how the site’s original channels are faring, promising brands that are emerging as a result of the channels, and more.  Which original channels do you watch?

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.