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Magazine publishers with video ambitions see YouTube as safer bet than Facebook (digiday.com)
145 points by amerine 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 80 comments



I've always seen Youtube as much higher quality than facebook. More than being accessible to everybody regardless of being logged in or not, their players have always been top notch for me. I've always associated Facebook videos with low quality content that I see scrolling through a newsfeed, and FB video has always been noticeably buggier than Youtube.

The focus of Youtube is video whereas video is just another feature of FB. If I want to binge something in the background or watch AvE tear apart power tools (seriously, he's awesome) I go to Youtube. I've never gone to Facebook when I wanted to watch video content.


The experience of watching a video on Facebook is not as smooth. Clicking the "full screen" button doesn't send you to full screen, but a bigger window that still has a social sidebar. That's annoying.

They need to fix that philosophy, because it was their avoidance of manipulative end user tactics in the early stage that helped them win out over MySpace.


> The focus of Youtube is video whereas video is just another feature of FB.

Today yes, but with FB's technical capabilities, I can't see why they couldn't knock off a respectable (if not superior in most respects, considering Google's apparent complete lack of skills or motivation in UI usability, and discoverability/search of all things) clone of YouTube in way under a year. And, they have a massive engaged social network to go with it, something Google can't bring to the table (they tried and failed). It could take them a long time to assemble critical mass of videos, but unless YouTube forbid it in their TOS (which I doubt, considering many people are openly advertising their steemit channels) most producers would clone their content to FB very quickly, especially smaller ones who are pissed off at demonetization.

FB's weak links in my estimation are the stubborn insistence to have everything under Facebook.com (rather than a sibling site), and the trust they've lost in the last year.


> clone of YouTube in way under a year.

Probably because some aspects of computer science/website engineering are not entirely nailed down and years of experience still count for something.


Do you think I'm overestimating or underestimating?


> FB's weak links in my estimation are the stubborn insistence to have everything under Facebook.com (rather than a sibling site), and the trust they've lost in the last year.

They have WhatsApp and Instagram under different names.


A few days ago I told my wife that Instagram was owned by Facebook and she was shocked. She had no idea. There are clues scattered around, mostly related to trying to get you to add your Facebook friends on Instagram or trying to get you to use Instagram more but not much else. I couldn't even find the word Facebook on Instagram's site just now (not even on their About Us page). It's probably on there somewhere but it seems to be pretty deliberately disassociated with Facebook.

I wonder if Facebook is treating Instagram like a second earth. If they ruin the first they still have a backup.


Both are acquisitions.


Not only are both acquisitions, but Facebook's strategy there might also involve diversification and disassociation with the parent brand. In other words, they foresaw they'd take a hit in user trust and even popularity so they're OK with spinning off new features as a completely different brand. The negative perceptions Facebook is currently dealing with don't really bleed into (at least in the minds of users) WhatsApp and Instagram, even though they now are part of the same engineering culture.


> Today yes, but with FB's technical capabilities, I can't see why they couldn't knock off a respectable (if not superior in most respects ... clone of YouTube in way under a year.

Facebook's challenge, IMHO, isn't technical, it's cultural. Namely: it's transparently selfish and seems to mostly act for it's short term advantage. It doesn't know how to share a pie. It doesn't seem to have a consistent strategy for people to build around.

> most producers would clone their content to FB very quickly, especially smaller ones who are pissed off at demonetization.

> and the trust they've lost in the last year.

Facebook let social games get out of hand, then it kneecapped all the social game makers.

Facebook kneecapped people who learned to depend on FB Pages to reach their audiences, to force them to buy ads.

Facebook just kneecapped video producers, probably worse than Youtube did. They kneecapped the news media as well.

If I was a video content producer, I wouldn't use a Facebook Youtube clone, even if it seemed better. I'd expect to get kneecapped, probably in the 2-3 year timeframe.


Totally agree.

> If I was a video content producer, I wouldn't use a Facebook Youtube clone, even if it seemed better. I'd expect to get kneecapped, probably in the 2-3 year timeframe.

But unless any platform has an exclusivity clause, it's pretty risk free and largely effort free (a multi-platform deployment tool will emerge I'd think) for producers to publish to all platforms. Actually, if(!) platforms would cooperate, this would be nice because they could then differentiate on features.


I'm an amateur musician and YouTube is my first stop whenever I'm trying to learn a new technique in Ableton or find music in a specific genre


It depends on how you measure things.

Youtube is a higher-quality video content site. It has lots of experience serving this type of content.

But as a social network, Youtube is gutter-quality, the worst of the worst. The kind of social network whose more disgruntled content providers are literally trying to murder the people running the site and whose comment section is infamous for being something like the most awful part of Internet.


I feel like the reference to the San Bruno shooting is detracting from your point. There was one incident still under investigation, and your commment pluralized and generalized from that.

I agree with the sentiment though, I remember during the 2016 election debates in the US, watching the YouTube live comments fill up with Unicode-art swasticas and depictions of people with turbans and bombs being shot at from behind a wall, and just incoherient expletives and slurs peppered in between.


Youtube seems worse because the comments are public and global... but same folks are posting the same bigotry on Facebook.


Indeed - but youtube allows itself to become a public forum for the propagation of this stuff and it's hard not to see that as worse.


The problem seems to be limited to the mega-popular content, and it doesn't really seem that different from news website comments. For niche channels that match my interests (10k-1M views per video), the comments are actually generally fairly pleasant and sometimes interesting.


One thing is that various video domains have almost expected levels of quality. I assume that any video link to Facebook.com is likely garbage, and I almost always click a link to Vimeo.com, even though of course any file could be uploaded to either domain.


Twitter consistently pulls an absurdly low bitrate for the first 3-5 seconds of a video regardless of available bandwidth and it is maddening.


The only adjective I'd put for Twitter video experience is shit. I really hate it.


Youtube seems to offer a better user experience than facebook for users who don't have an account or aren't signed into an account. I have no data to back this up, but I suspect users with no accounts or users who aren't signed in account for a sizable portion of the youtube audience.


Can confirm. I don't have a google account or a facebook account. I watch videos on youtube and it functions perfectly. However facebook is totally unusable without an account.


>Youtube seems to offer a better user experience than facebook for users who don't have an account or aren't signed into an account. I have no data to back this up, but I suspect users with no accounts or users who aren't signed in account for a sizable portion of the youtube audience.

That's true for me. I'm not on FB, and even publicly-accessible pages will throw up a "Please login" screen after a few seconds. So I see very little FB content. OTOH, I watch plenty of Youtube videos, and I can see, AFAICT, all of the non-paid content even when I'm not logged in.


Youtube piggy backs on Google logins, so if you're signed into gmail, you'll be a logged in user.


But you can watch videos without being logged in.

Which for me is a big benefit when I'm not using a device that I own. I don't have to worry about logging in at all.


I definitely would not say it is a sizable portion. I'd say it is infact a minority of Youtube's audience. Their CEO revealed they have 1.8b logged in users [1] every month watching videos.

[1] https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/3/17317274/youtube-1-8-billi...


>Their CEO revealed they have 1.8b logged in users

That's what you get when you are logged in in gmail at the same time. It's not like people WANT to log in on Youtube, it's just a side effect of a google account login on some other service.


Sizeable and minority are two totally different markers of scale. 25% of something is a sizeable chunk, but still the minority...


But do they log in consistently? I log in by mistake every now and then, but I use it without being logged in 99.9% of the time.


This isn't a huge percentage of the time for me, but I often use a device that isn't logged into anything because it's using the android builtin browser, someone elses computer, etc. Not having to care about logging in is a benefit.


> Youtube seems to offer a better user experience than facebook for users who don't have an account or aren't signed into an account.

I think it's something a bit more general: Facebook is all about getting people to do, right now, what's good for Facebook, and it's willing to break things and get in your face to accomplish that.

Youtube, and Google generally, seem to be much more OK with just providing a consistent, approachable service; and letting the users use it naturally. In the long term, that seems like the better strategy because it doesn't burn trust like it grows on trees.


I really hate these news sites that overload their sites with graphics like images and videos.

I long for simple websites that dont have auto playing videos that are always on some corner even when scrolled down.


If you're okay with more of a microfiche-style experience:

https://www.pressreader.com/

Not sure if you can kill photos— but they're pretty essential to journalism.


My point is countless hours of dev time, resources and infrastructure is wasted on what is obviously a very bad design.

Making a bad design, then overcoming the bad design with another piece of software is pure wastage of valuable resources.

It's really sad. UX design does not get the authority it deserves.


Some publishers do better than others in that department. I can agree (from experience) that many run fast away from any dev work except for new plugins that return more data to the marketing and sales departments who come back with more requests for beating as blockers and direct ad insertion and the rest of it. It was very frustrating being somebody who knew how to build a better experience and see it rejected as bad business.

Edit: they have UX teams but they don’t leverage them because of a goofy allotment of any sanctioned development work to CAPEX which they never want to spend because they often have little of that but tons of OPEX. It drives the “just get it done” part of my mind crazy.


I like the sound of this but then I visited and my scrolling got jacked. Sideways. Infinitely. And an animated sidebar started appearing and disappearing, hiding and revealing sections, unloading and reloading them.

It was like using a microfiche while large boxes of whistles and bells were dropped on me from above.

So much effort to make a familiar, working UI feel clunky and uncomfortable.


I can understand the frustrations at the ads after I said it was like reading microfiche...

but the scrolling is like reading library microfiche.

That left bar could use some work for sure though.


Safari on mobile supports defaulting to Reading Mode for domains.


I've recently disabled javascript by default and now I only enable it for sites where I want it. My browsing experience has improved significantly.


Given YouTubes weird stances on content moderation, I'm not sure that's a wise bet.


A brand publisher is in a much better position to roll with that than an indie content maker. Having worn both hats, it's strange how much your perspective changes.


Safer bet than Facebook. Neither is great.


Working for a major Canadian multimedia company (including some reputable magazines). Brightcove is pretty much at the core of it. Youtube is a sometimes, or just another endpoint. Facebook Live was used a few times but I haven't heard much from that lately.


It got a lot of press for live streaming literal murders, rapes, and child molestation.

I haven’t heard anything about it since, but, then again, I don’t use Facebook.


Right. I forgot about all that already. Good lord.


I just don't see smaller magazine publishers sustaining the production of video. It's extremely high cost relative to other content and they don't have the traffic or niche audience required to gather the ad revenue to support it.


It’s getting cheaper and cheaper to produce videos these days though. We’re kind of in the place that graphic design was in 10 years ago. As the equipment gets better, software more powerful, and generations of younger folks with substantial knowledge in the subject, the costs are going to go way down.


I’d say we’re at the end of the cost reduction curve. Capital requirements for video production have been minimal for a while. Costs are overwhelmingly people. People don’t get cheaper.


With the number of totally independent content producers on YouTube with extremely high production quality (often indistinguishable from professional TV shows), I honestly don't think cost/people is a big factor anymore, at all.


But a publisher is paying people to produce the content - so I'm saying after the planning, shooting and producing, the cost at probably a few thousand for a publisher. Supporting that with video ad Rev is really, really hard if you're like the typical online magazine that doesn't have a look at T of scale.


> after the planning, shooting and producing, the cost at probably a few thousand for a publisher.

There are all sorts of YouTube content creators who do everything for their channel, had no noteworthy background in any of it, and turn out several videos a week with broadcast TV levels of quality, in addition to holding down full time regular jobs.

You could spend several thousand per episode, but you no longer have* to.

I agree though, covering these now minimal costs with ad revenue is something else entirely.


> You could spend several thousand per episode, but you no longer have* to.

You don’t have to if you know how to do the work. It’s like making apps. It’s cheap to make an app and get it on the App Store if you’re an app developer. But if you need to hire somebody, suddenly you’re looking at multiple tens of thousands of dollars, at a bare minimum. The fact that there are all sorts of content creators doing video work for themselves doesn’t mean that doing video work is somehow cheap. They’re just working for themselves on spec.


This doesn't make logical sense to me....a lot of these skilled people run channels with next to no income, I would think only would many of them gladly take on some side work for multiple tens of thousands of dollars, at a bare minimum, but would fight over it, bidding it down to way less than that.

To me this seems like basic supply and demand in action, I'm curious which aspects of this scenario we disagree on to come to such a wide disagreement?


I agree with you. In addition to many more people saavy at generating and editing content, modern cell phones with motion stabilization and better editing tools make anyone a reporter/cinematographer if they are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to capture something interesting or otherwise news worthy.


I would argue the opposite.. there are millions of YouTube channels that have no budget at all. Some of my favorite channels have very small budgets.


Right. But a magazine has to pay salaries - I'd wonder how many of your favorite YouTube channel creators are completely supported by their craft.


Video in an infographic/voiceover form seems relatively affordable to produce.


The technology is affordable, it's the hired staff that is expensive - magazines have to support time spent with ad revenue and the numbers don't work out well


If you lower the bar and just show infographics (which you already produce for print) and possibly lightly animate them and some reading of the articles, video cost can be in the hundreds of dollars all-in per video.

I suspect a toolchain could be created to essentially automate the process of making these videos, using stock photos/clips, an animation library, etc.


There's not enough open-source back-end tools that would allow a site to host and publish videos on their own, without going through a third-party service.

Where is the video equivalent to WordPress?


Discovery is the problem. If they’re on YouTube they can show up in people’s recommendation lists, target users with particular history, etc.

Hosting your own video means you’re not likely to catch users who are binge watching videos, which I would imagine is a more lucrative demographic for ad dollars.


Isn't hardware (server space, bandwidth and latency) the real problem, with streaming video?


No, cost for that is constantly reducing. The problem is getting people to pay attention to what you make.


Constantly reducing is not the same as less expensive. Independent video streaming is still very expensive, both in hardware cost and bandwidth cost, and if you have a global audience, then you will have to rely on CDN, which for video is not cheap at all.

Youtube for the longest time, ran on loss - until recently. Only after Google had reliable penetration all over the globe using their on-premise GGC (aka google CDN) solution, which relies on the user (ISP) bearing the cost of hosting the hardware and the bandwidth that run through it, that now Youtube has the infrastructure to make it profitable.

I don't honestly see youtube being seriously challenged. Yes, there might be pockets of competitions - but far far from a serious challenge.

Unless an individual producer has very high marketable demand that he can get a premium price from advertisers or charges users per video, I don't see how hosting videos for individuals is profitable. Corporations are a different story, and even they often rely on Youtube.


A big CDN could do it, I think cloudfare recently launched a new video service. If they wanted to, they could build on that. More likely would be something like wordpress using this as a back-end. That feels like a great open-source project. Discovery could be done with RSS, trying to copy the podcast model.

Whilst its not great to replace one big company with another, it is at least good to have an alternative to keep youtube from being too crazy.


You do the same thing people do to get attention for their text blog - the usual publicity approaches.


Not sure if you’ve noticed, but the blogosphere ain’t what it once was.


Personal blogs, right. But I'm largely referring to professional media sites like magazines.

The world needs a WordPress for video.


Publishing is usually not the issue. The delivery is. Besides being it very expensive to re-encode, store and delivery content (in comparison to text), it's incredibly challenging to create good experience for the end user.

This is where companies like mux [0] come in the picture, but it's a paid product. YouTube is "free" with a chance to also generate, in some cases, pretty significant revenue stream.

[0] https://mux.com


Publishing is part of the problem. We need to be able to go from Final Cut Pro to web. It has the capability to deliver HTTP Live Streaming, but that's not supported in all browsers.

Everything from between "Final Cut Pro" and "Web Browser" needs to be standardized with easy-to-use self-publishing capabilities.

(The CDN can take care of the bandwidth)


All browsers (but Opera mini) support video [0]. There are standards all around video. The challenge is not in getting video from Final Cut Pro to a web browser, the challenge is to do it efficiently, economically with a good user experience.

CDN is the tiniest part of the whole process. Each video has to be re-encoded based on the device and network capabilities. CDN can the deliver anything anywhere. Also good video player is needed. Even with HLJ.js and Video.js it's a lot of work to put all of this together in a very user friendly way. And then you want to have cross device support and more. Video is just hard.

[0] https://caniuse.com/#feat=video


Right, but the whole process has to be optimized.

I mean, Final Cut pro can export videos to Facebook and YouTube, but to export on your own media site is where everything starts to fall apart in terms of user experience.


If the intent is to sell quality ads, advertisers need to see some audience analytics. A smaller publisher is less likely to get people to register, fill in the proper demographic data and stay logged in across all their devices than a large platform.


A site can't do that. You need a CDN and streaming transcoders, etc. Of course if you only have a few viewers then HTML5 will play your self-hosted video files but I don't you think that's what you mean.


setting the discovery issue aside, there are SaaS companies like cloudinary.com that take care of all the transcoding / delivery / device matching stuff


Wayyyyyyy safer, and yet still not.


"...the shows are weekly, focus on evergreen topics and run up to eight minutes per episode..."

That's __obviously__ not a good fit for FB. Nothing more. Nothing less. To say anything more means someone has an ax to grind.

Perhaps the title oft his article should be: "Full Disclosure; Google Paid Me to Write This"?


I don't think I understand. Is it the 8 min part that isn't a good fit for FB?


How many people go to FB looking for "long form" evergreen video content? If you do, how easy it to search for?

One is a social network. The other a media platform. The expectations and usage of each is different. Put another way...you host it on YT and market it on FB, __not__ the other way around.

For a brand to pick the best platform for their __particular__ content is not new and noteworthy. That is, it's not news. It's fluff. It's clickbait.


Most likely someone who feels raw about FBs stock price on its way to full recovery despite the recent scandal.




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