The ongoing transformation of YouTube is a feature story in the current issue of The New Yorker — a reflection of the fact that Google has developed more plans for it than just hosting user videos in perpetuity. Getting people to watch its content with the same dedication still granted to cable TV is the next natural step.
A growing consensus is that all the platform needs to show itself worthy of many billions more in annual advertising dollars is the first must-see smash hit series. Where exactly the breakthrough is going to come from remains a bit of a mystery.
While the company has developed partnerships with amateur content producers, the bigger news has been a $100 million investment in the rollout of professional channels, designed to hook in viewers for more than an occasional distraction. Whether that means an increased potential of exposure for independent productions, or if the most oddball ideas will have to work harder to draw eyeballs, also remains to be seen.