The transformation of YouTube from a video search engine to a collection of programmed "channels" is about reinventing TV. But to reinvent TV, you have to get people watching a bit more like TV, which means getting viewers hooked on longer shows than the short clips that define YouTube.
On that front, YouTube has to like what's happening on Ad Age 's YouTube Channel Tracker this week, where some channels are getting a big boost from longer-than-usual episodes.The biggest gainer this week was Rainn Wilson's "SoulPancake" (up 354%), thanks largely to a 7-minute, 30-second interview with comedian Demetri Martin. Jay -Z's 24-minute documentary, "Where I'm From," which documents his commute to Brooklyn's Barclays Center for a show, drove a 115% increase in views his Life + Times channel for the week.
That's long enough to insert commercial breaks, like TV, but so far, YouTube is sticking to pre-rolls and overlays. Videos longer than a few minutes are still outliers on YouTube, where viewers spend an average of four hours a month, per Nielsen.
Another longer video drove a 48% increase in views for "SciShow," and no celebrities were involved. Video professor Hank Green broke down the findings (and non-findings) from the Mars rover and scary news about the warming of planet Earth.
See how all of YouTube's original channels fared last week on Ad Age 's YouTube Channel Tracker.