Yahoo wants to convince YouTube's biggest stars that the grass is greener on its side of the online video fence. As Re/code reported, the Internet giant hopes to lure popular video makers to join a YouTube-like operation of its own.
It's an interesting idea — Yahoo has been fashioning itself as a media company as of late, and it's already nabbed some big names like Katie Couric and David Pogue to create original news content.
Yahoo can't take on Google in search, hence its push into content and media. Landing YouTube's most popular content creators with better revenue deals is a great start, but to keep them happy, Yahoo will have to be able to draw as much — or more — traffic as those video makers already getting over on YouTube. And that means Yahoo has to design its new service with users in mind, to keep them coming back for more. We've got a few suggestions.
Beats Music joined a crowded field of on-demand streaming services (Spotify, Rdio, Google Play Music All Access, Rhapsody), but it raised the bar with its slick app design and expert curation. If you don't know what to listen to, you can fill out a Mad Libs-style sentence ("I'm on the subway, and feel like rocking out with my mom to disco," for example) to get a playlist based on those choices as well as what you've already taught Beats about your musical tastes.
If Yahoo's video streaming service wants to set itself apart from YouTube and Vimeo, curation is key, from the videos promoted on the home page (and around the rest of Yahoo's sites) to playlists based on what it knows you like to watch. Unlike YouTube's algorithm-based suggestions, Yahoo would benefit from a more human touch.
Re/code reported that Yahoo was reaching out to the top content creators on YouTube, attempting to bring them over to the Purple Side with sweeter revenue-sharing deals, but that Yahoo doesn't plan to let any Joe Selfiecam upload content, at least not at first.
This exclusivity is a great idea — Yahoo should try to make its service the Techmeme of video sites, complete with a leaderboard showing which content creators are racking up the most hits and how much cold, hard cash they're making from the ad impressions. That will get the creators who aren't on the site yet salivating, and inspire them to crank out more and better-quality videos to convince Yahoo to let them in. As the service expands, Yahoo could even give users a voice on which creators should be added next, sort of like how Amazon Studios lets users vote on which pilots would become full seasons of original programming.
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