There is no denying YouTube’s market share and influence on video content creation. It is the second most visited site after Google and offers users the chance to start sharing easily and with a relatively low barrier to entry. However, for many creators (even established ones) the scale of YouTube plays a key part in the challenges of developing a channel.
The hurdles which new channels on the platform face are well documented. It can be extremely difficult to beat the algorithm and gain exposure when competing in an open marketplace, with hours of video content uploaded every minute. But unfortunately, the difficulties for creators don’t stop there. Many find that, even once they’ve gone through the labor of love of developing a popular channel, they are constantly fighting to retain their audience and navigate the right balance of commercialization. Overall, the volume of content on the platform means that channel owners have to work extremely hard to build a loyal following. They need an audience that will not only passively watch content but feel engaged enough to comment, interact and become an active part of the channel’s community. Once a channel reaches this milestone, the creator’s most important goal is to leverage that community to build a sustainable income. This will enable the creator to keep generating new content without burning out or becoming trapped in a side-hustle mentality. The irony is that to achieve this they will need their followers to navigate away from the very platform that built their audience in the first place.
In recent years creators have been leveraging monetization tools such as Patreon, Ko-fi, or Gumroad to direct traffic away from YouTube and towards a platform where they are more in control of monetization. While these tools can provide valuable additional income for YouTubers, the format of the platforms themselves can sometimes be off-putting for followers. Particularly, the reward tiers and tipping models of these sites don’t always provide the immersive experience which followers are searching for.Dedicated viewers among a channel’s community will be keen to support a creator financially. However, if the audience is transitioning away from YouTube, then users are likely to be looking for an extension of the experience which initially attracted them to the channel. Content-wise followers will be interested in videos that remind them of their YouTube experience, but which are delivered in a format that feels more exclusive and personal.
A branded “over-the-top” (OTT) app can deliver what the true fans of a creator really want – a next-level content experience. If you’re not completely familiar with OTT, think Netflix or Amazon Prime streaming apps. However, it’s not just these giants using the format, plenty of smaller organizations and individual creators with content to leverage are building a sustainable income through a dedicated platform. OTT enables YouTubers to offer the same flavor as a fan’s favorite channel but in a restaurant with their own name above the door.
Most creators are well aware that advertising revenue from YouTube will provide limited returns. To build a real future from their content, creators need to diversify their income streams. An open playing field within YouTube means that an audience is constantly being pulled away by competitors or irritated by adverts. OTT enables creators to keep the viewer's attention, while at the same time, experiment with monetization models on their own terms.The majority of established YouTubers, will already have tested a variety of methods to build multiple income streams outside the platform. Many creators have perfected the necessary tone of voice, to subtly divert a loyal audience towards avenues that will financially support content creation. OTT delivers a valuable extension to this portfolio but goes beyond what most monetization strategies offer.OTT is a dedicated, branded platform that enables creators to build a lasting home for their followers. When communicating this to an established audience, YouTubers can emphasize that, not only is OTT a space that has been built exclusively with them in mind, it is also a tangible way for them to support their favorite creator. This in-turn ensures that the creator is able to sustain the original YouTube channel and continue to post video content there.By incorporating behind-the-scenes footage or sneak-peeks of special OTT content into their YouTube channel, creators can maximize conversion and drive followers to subscribe organically. By keeping this balance, creators can maintain an advert-supported content offering on YouTube but charge a subscription for more exclusive content on their own OTT service. Allowing YouTube to become a bridge to their new content hub.
Not only does a branded, personalized environment inspire loyalty, it also helps creators separate themselves from the pack. An OTT approach allows content to benefit from universal search capabilities, which offers better content discoverability and less direct competition. This means your viewers aren’t overwhelmed and distracted by other content, enabling you to stay at the forefront of your audience’s mind.Many refer to YouTube as a video streaming service, and while it is certainly investing more in content acquisition than ever before, when it comes to user-generated content YouTube is really a video marketing tool. It is a great way to reach a large audience, but once you have that audience’s attention you need to do something different with it. OTT allows creators to engage with fans in a host of ways, keeping viewers immersed in a more focused environment that offers in-app notifications, content gamification, and a user experience that feels personal to them.Ultimately, an OTT app offers content creators what social media cannot – a platform where the individual creator becomes more important than the host.