Digitally Activated: Sports Centered

A Look at Online Sports Activations

What Can Sports Learn From PewDiePie About YouTube?

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Do sports properties have a YouTube problem?  I asked myself this question after reviewing a list of the top YouTube channels and comparing them to some of the top sports properties on YouTube.

Top Channels on YouTube

Top Sports Properties on YouTube

Channel

Subscribers

Total Views

Channel

Subscribers

Total Views

PewDiePie

12,862,711

2,362,510,892

NBA

4,457,188

1,568,025,299

Smosh

12,301,747

2,618,134,546

WWE

1,976,941

653,562,026

JennaMarbles

10,585,166

1,226,902,444

UFC

1,268,470

422,500,068

HolaSoyGerman

10,541,515

734,771,916

NHL

325,470

146,819,066

RayWilliamJohnson

10,253,086

2,490,321,307

MLB

151,530

37,362,979

*Numbers current as of September 7, 2013

**The NFL does not have a YouTube channel

*** The sports list is not intended to denote the top five sports properties on YouTube, but to be used as a reference

The chart above is not to suggest an apples to apples comparison.  However, it is telling that four of the top five channels on YouTube are geared towards Males 12-24.  PewDiePie is a Let’s Play channel that captures “one dude’s hilarious” take on different video games, Smosh is a sketch comedy channel, and HolaSoyGerman & RayWillamJohnson are channels featuring one man’s commentary.  None of these channels feature “studio production quality” films, but they have been able to find strength with an audience base that has a voracious appetite for their content.  To put this into perspective, PewDiePie posted a video Scariest Part! – Outlast WalkthroughPlaythrough on September 7th and within 24 hours the video had 1.1MM views.  PewDiePie posts about two videos per day and gets anywhere from 1.3MM to 2.6MM views per video.

The channels are generating a substantial number of views.  It is my opinion that sports properties must begin to invest in developing content that is geared towards YouTube’s audience.  However, there is a very obvious problem with this idea, will the investment in developing the content be worth the return.  There are few ways to dissect this argument.

1.     Is it an investment in growing the sport with future viewers?

The strength of the sports industry is built on the fact that television has subsidized its growth.  Rights fees have escalated over the past twenty years because Generation X & Millennial fans grew-up with the rise of the cable industry.  Access to sports was the driving force when the selection of television channels was limited to 70.  Now, future generations are growing with the rise of different online media platforms that no longer limit their viewing options.  Creating content for M12-24 on YouTube is an investment in the future of a properties fan base.

2.     Will you be able to monetize your YouTube investment?

The short, but complicated answer would be yes.  YouTube has been actively seeking out content partners that will develop programming specifically for YouTube.  Their current partnership with content creators agrees to pay producers 55% of all revenue associated with their sites.  Revenue splits will different by properties; however, there is a considerable opportunity for properties to monetize an audience that is not visiting their website.

The diversification of M12-24 viewing habits necessitates that sports properties develop content specifically tailored for the platforms they are using.  The properties should look at the content that are driving views and develop content that is tailored for these platforms.

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Written by Peter Amador

September 14, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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