YOUTUBE AIMS TO GROW AS A NEWS SOURCE: YouTube announced steps it’s taking to better position itself as a top destination for online news videos. The company will invest $25 million towards helping news publishers grow their video operations, and will also create a group of publishers to work on improving the news experience on YouTube. Separately, the company plans to better contextualize videos through previews of news articles in certain searches for breaking news videos and by adding third-party information to videos of well-documented historical topics. YouTube also plans to more prominently feature local news in specific US markets. 

The moves could help YouTube improve the news experience it provides to users. 

  • Linking to third-party sites could help users distinguish fact from fiction on certain videos. For example, a user watching a conspiratorial video on the moon landing would have access to third-party information that might help them realize the theories in the video they’re watching have been debunked. YouTube has struggled with promoting conspiratorial content in the past, and combating the spread of sensationalized videos might make users believe YouTube is less likely to show them deceptive content.
  • More local news could appeal to consumers that see national news outlets as less trustworthy. Forty-one percent of registered voters think local news outlets are more trustworthy than national news outlets, per a 2017 poll by Morning Consult and Politico. By better catering to these users’ tastes, YouTube could encourage consumers to more regularly seek out local news on its platform when they can’t access it on linear TV, in turn growing engagement with the platform.

And as YouTube grows its news viewership, it could stand a better chance at luring ad spend away from linear TV and traditional news networks. As some brands look to reallocate their ad dollars away from traditional TV and towards digital, pivoting its news approach could help YouTube grab a bigger portion of dollars that might be leaving traditional news networks, especially as the company reaches young viewers that legacy heavyweights aren’t: YouTube reaches more 18-34-year-olds on mobile alone in the US than any TV network. That’s in contrast with aging average TV news viewership — the average age of CNN’s viewers was 60 in 2017, while this figure was 65 for MSNBC and Fox News, per TVNewser — which might make it easier for YouTube to pitch brands that typically advertise on TV news programs but are focused on reaching younger consumers.



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