<videovortex> goodbye cute cat videos, hello cash cow

Rainer Hillrichs hillrichs at uni-bonn.de
Thu Dec 8 10:47:26 CET 2011

Dear Geert, dear everyone,

these interface changes are interesting but I guess the changes are less
dramatic than the writer of the article presents them.

- Cats and cash are no contradictions in YouTube's cosmos. The platform was
a commercial project from the beginning. It needed users with cute cats and
a lot  of traffic to eventually become profitable (Jawed Karim's lecture in

- YouTube has also been regarded as a rival and potential replacement of
television since early 2006.

- Already in March 2006 did YouTube try to team up with established content
providers to host more 'professional' content. Nothing new at all in this
regard. And this content has been enjoying privileged status all along.

- Also, content categories for clips are old news (introduced late 2005).

So what's new on YouTube?

- The "Channels" tab was discontinued a couple of months ago: a very
important change. The "Channels" page that the tab linked to represents
users's long-term success on the platform with numbers for accumulated
views and supscriptions. There is still the channels page (
http://www.youtube.com/channels) but there is no link on the frontpage.
When YouTube dropped the link it curtailed the representation of successful
users as successful users on the platform. What remains is a representation
of successful individual videos in the categories.

- The grey background, the dark column to the left on the frontpage. It's
cosmetics at the end of the day, but it provides the platform with a
completely different look.

It is interesting to see that such cosmetics lead to such an engaged
journalistic response - and not the clandestine drop of the "Channels" tab.


Rainer Hillrichs M.A.
University of Bonn

On Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 3:21 PM, Geert Lovink <geert at xs4all.nl> wrote:
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