July 30th, 2014 Who Wants to Challenge the YouTube Business Model?

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How would you challenge the YouTube business model? Nine years since the video platform launched, no viable competitor has emerged, even if major media companies are reportedly working on plans to disrupt it. Can one really take on Google in the first place? If so, what could a new platform mean for content creators?

Last July 30, VideoInk, in partnership with BigSceen LittleScreen and Magnet Media, hosted a fireside chat with guest speakers Shira Lazar, co-founder and host of What’s Trending and Erika Nardini, chief marketing officer of AOL Advertising, to talk about YouTube and how to diversify the video ecosystem. Sahil Patel served as moderator.

“If you want to develop and nurture an audience, YouTube is the platform to do it,”

Nardini said. However, she also points out that it’s not a curated environment. If you look at iJustine (who has her own show on AOL), YouTube offers the same box that YouTube offers Conde Nast, my kids, and anyone here.”

AOL is known for pursuing personalities like iJustine, an internet celebrity and occasional TV host, as well as Nicole Richie, TV personality and fashion designer.  “We love looking to YouTube to find talent for our programming. We love [iJustine’s] YouTube following. We discovered her there and we want her to grow it.

“But we believe there is an opportunity to program and distribute premium environments, and one thing YouTube doesn’t do is distribute. What we believe is having a really significant syndication platform that curates content,” Nardini said.

How does anyone grow a business on YouTube these days? For the panel, the glass half-full scenario is that YouTube allows zero barrier of entry; but the glass half-empty scenario points to the platform earning money, nor the person.

Asked if YouTube didn’t exist where can content be distributed more effectively? Lazar took on this question: “(Choose) either Netflix or Hulu. Amazon is harder, as they don’t curate as much as Netflix or Hulu.”

The question remains: Who can challenge the status quo?

Two short videos were screened at the event. Set to start on August 11 on YouTube is “Master Date,” a comedic series about dating in New York City featuring Kate Oliva and Bryan Pauquette of Covert Bacon.

The other video was by Ryan Holloway of Forge Apollo. Showing on YouTube channel since May is his short-form series, “American History X-Men.” It’s about what happens in the future when Hollywood runs out of movie ideas.

The meetup was organized by Tiffany Asher.