NPR.com, The Huffington Post, Politico, and the San Francisco Chronicle are among top outlets to recently sign on for YouTube Direct, a new open source tool that makes it easier for viewers to submit their own news videos to editorial sites. Why does it matter?
YouTube Direct is being touted as another boon for citizen journalism, one that further positions YouTube as a news platform. Videos posted by average viewers can be embed- ded on news sites, but are also made public on YouTube.
Keith Jenkins, NPR's supervising senior producer for multimedia, notes that YouTube Direct can be a great tool for the site's professional reporters. "It's got capabilities that go beyond letting us filter user content," he says. "I also look at this as an internal tool for our reporters in the field who can shoot something and quickly upload their stuff to our site."
Jenkins adds that YouTube Direct could drive traffic to NPR's site, but notes, "We're more concerned about having our content in a place where people can find it. This could help."
Aaron Zamost, manager of global communications and public affairs at Google, YouTube's parent company, says YouTube Direct has applications for different audiences: PR firms can use it to solicit promotional videos from consumers; nonprofits can call for support video; and politicians can use it to ask for user-generated political commercials.
But Steve Dunlop, former TV reporter and founder/CEO of Dunlop Media, says the competitive media landscape makes it less likely that user-generated citizen videos will crowd out traditional reporting or PR-produced b-roll on these editorial sites. "News organizations tend to want exclusivity, which you won't get with this kind of citizen video," he says.
Under YouTube Direct, the video's provider retains ownership, with all videos stored and hosted by YouTube and live on the user's own YouTube channel
YouTube now streams more than 1 billion videos a day, 10 times the number of videos the popular site was streaming only a few years ago
Nielsen found total online video streams up 17% year over year. In November alone, 138.4 million unique viewers watched 11.2 billion streams