YouTube has launched several TV channels in France, based on content specifically developed and curated for the new channels. The new channels will be focused on various subjects, including news, health, comedy, cooking, celebrities/gossip, etc., which to develop, YouTube will lean on newly established partnerships with Endemol France, Groupe Aufeminin, Euronews, Capa Prod and Lagardère Active. In addition to France, new channels are also being launched in the UK and Germany. The principal goal of this strategy is to make YouTube more TV like, attracting viewers for longer periods and, ultimately, increasing ad revenue (which will be shared with their content partners).
With 25 of their existing US channels averaging over 1 million viewers/wk (only 10 saw these numbers last year), the brand/customized strategy does seem to be working well for YouTube, even if there have been some growing pains with their content partners. There’s every reason to think that they have a really good shot at achieving the same level of success in France in particular (albeit on a smaller scale). According to Mediapart [FR], the number of people watching videos online in France has exploded over the last year, increasing by 4.6 million (or 17.2%) from July 2011 to July 2012 (the overall number of Internet users only increased 7.1%). There are now roughly 31 million French Internet users watching videos online each month. In addition, YouTube is still the preferred video site, far outpacing France’s Dailymotion with 27.5 million uniques, 1.8 billion videos watched, and 72.7 million hours watched per month (related: Dailymotion bought out by Orange). French Internet users also spend approximately 3 hours 53 minutes/month watching videos online and are watching more videos online, having watched 77 videos in July 2012, a 28.2% increase over the number watched in July last year.
So it looks like the right environment is in place for online video, particularly video that is focused on high quality, customized content, to continue to flourish in France. It’ll be interesting to see the type of content the partners launch in the coming months and whether this experiment does turn out to be a win-win-win for YouTube, its content partners and advertisers.s