It’s hard to believe that five years ago YouTube didn’t exist and uploading and sharing personal videos online was actually challenging. On February 14, 2005, the YouTube.com domain was registered. Less than 2 years later, in October 2006, YouTube.com was sold to Google for $1.65 billion. Today, it’s the most trafficked online video site with over 100 million unique visitors watching over 7 billion videos each month (source). YouTube is a powerful global brand and is positioned as the market leader in the online video industry.
Now, that’s a brand success story!
It’s well known in branding theory that being first to market is an important element of strong brand positioning, but it’s not a guarantee of success. The founders of YouTube created the right site at the right time. They recognized an opportunity, and they capitalized on it. Fortunately for their wallets, the almighty Google also recognized the opportunity, and coughed up a lot of money to purchase YouTube in 2006. It’s interesting to wonder if YouTube would have grown to the massive size that it is today without Google behind it. However, it’s equally interesting to wonder what YouTube would have grown into without Google behind it.
Other competitors have come and gone, but YouTube still holds a massive market share advantage over those competitors. While YouTube has become the go-to site for personal videos and video sharing, many businesses and brands are also creating branded YouTube channels to leverage the growing interest in online video among consumers. The problem for online video viewers is finding the credible content amidst the clutter that has become one of the biggest criticisms of YouTube.
YouTube will remain the leader for some time, but it seems apparent that changes need to come to the site to separate the branded content from the content uploaded by teenagers lip synching to Hannah Montana. That’s the current opportunity for YouTube. The YouTube brand image has shifted to focus more on personal video sharing over the years, leaving a large market open for a competitor to snatch if YouTube allows it.
What do you think? Will YouTube look the same on its 10th birthday or will changes be made? Leave a comment and share your predictions.
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