YouTube has gained a huge amount of publicity for its original channels initiative, which was expanded internationally earlier this week. Now, according to an article by Magnify.net's CEO Steve Rosenbaum in Forbes yesterday, another critical and emerging YouTube strategy is "curation."
YouTube is the 800 pound gorilla for video uploads - with 72 hours added every minute - and the idea behind curation is to get users to cull through that massive video library to either add to their own channels and/or to build new ones, using others' videos.
With the explosion of all forms of online content, the concept of curation has become more important than ever. Things have gotten to the point where we're all so busy and there's so much stuff to consume that filtering mechanisms are needed to effectively guide us. That's where the idea of curators, or experts who sift the wheat from the chafe to present a coherent and digestible package, comes into play.
In a way, we're all curators already, routinely choosing links to share with friends and family. I'm a curator as well; each day I both choose what online video topic to write about that VideoNuze's readers will hopefully find valuable, and also round-up from numerous 3rd-party sources their relevant online video stories into the right-hand column of the VideoNuze web site and daily email (incidentally, this list of 3rd-party articles now numbers in the thousands, making it a superb industry-focused database).
YouTube seems to understand that its video library is now so big that curators can play a pivotal role in organizing it, in turn making it more enjoyable to users. In the article, Steve quotes Dror Shimshowitz, who's overseeing YouTube's curation initiative, citing ESPN's "SportsCenter" as a TV curation analogy: a batch of highlight clips that are well organized and then weaved into a compelling program by the show's hosts. I like that analogy, but it's worth noting those clips are highly compelling plays. Most of YouTube's video library isn't nearly as "must-see," which will make YouTube's curators' job tougher than SportsCenter's editors.
Still, it's not hard to imagine some enterprising curators creating vertical or topic-based channels or programs in categories like music, entertainment, news or politics out of all the content that's available on YouTube. I'm guessing Steve, who's a curation guru, having recently written the book "Curation Nation," would have plenty of advice for YouTube. Magnify has also become a central hub of online video curation as a YouTube partner and also yesterday announcing another integration, with Brightcove.
Another key element of the curation concept is that advertisers will be attracted to well-maintained, highly focused channels/programs that draw targeted audiences. All of which would make YouTube more appealing as connected TVs become more widespread.
A lot of the details are yet to emerge on YouTube's curation plans, but it seems like there's some interesting potential here. YouTube is already sitting on by far the world's largest video library. Enabling curators to mine more value of it feels like a smart idea.