It's both I would argue.
Distributed systems professor here. My lab has been working on a "academically pure" distributed Youtube for 14 years and 7 months now. That means no central servers, no web portals, and no discovery website. Pure Peer-to-Peer and lawyer-proof hopefully. Distributing everything usually means developer productivity drops by roughly 95%. Plus half of our master-level students are not capable of significantly contributing. Decentralised==hard. This is something the "Distributed Apps" generation is re-discovering after the Napter-age Devs got kids/s
> All there needs to be done is to expose a static, daily generated JSON file that contains all videos on the instance.
Or simply make it real-time gossip.
Disclaimer; promoting our work here. We implemented a semantic clustered overlay back in 2014 for decentralised video search, that could make it just as fast as Google Servers. This year we finished implementing a real-time channel feed of Magnet links protocol + deployment to our users. Our 51k concurrent users ensure that we can simply re-seed a new Bittorrent hash with 1 million hashes, then everybody updates. Complete research portfolio, including our decentralised trust function .
> does anyone actually care if it's technically decentralized?
That is an interesting question. Our goal is real Internet freedom. In our case, logically decentralisation is a hard requirement. Our users often don't care. Caching servers quickly introduce brittleness into your architecture and legal issues.