YouTube has been the go-to place for online video for 17 years now. Newsrooms use it for distributing their video content, podcasters use it for better podcast discovery, and there is a big ecosystem of creators doing stuff just for the platform.

YouTube is considered a social media platform, and it is also the second most-used search engine following Google. If your newsroom has a social media expert or specialist, he or she will likely focus on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or Twitter. Your newsroom should make sure someone watches YouTube as well.

Keeping up with YouTube news and features

YouTube is a somewhat different space than other social networks. First, it’s the biggest platform which directly shares revenue with its creators with a 55/45 split, where the creators get the bigger piece.

Second, YouTube has offered a subscription feature called Membership for a couple of years. Followers can pay a monthly fee for extra content and directly support the creator.

Third, the platform has been adding various monetization features like Super Chat or Merchandise Shelf and keeps adding others.

When I started my career in digital around 2011, I worked as a social media specialist and talked to many of my peers. The name of the game at the time was Facebook and everything else was secondary. Managers were seeing huge reach, off the charts engagement. That disappeared over the years.

When I talk to social media managers today, they usually mention Instagram and TikTok. Sure, that’s my limited experience, but there is something about it.

Last fall, I moderated a panel on product thinking and attention economy at the IPI World Congress and one of the speakers was Turkish journalist and presenter Nevşin Mengü.

Nevşin runs a popular YouTube news channel in which she summarizes Turkey’s most important news of the day, in a 20-to 40-minute video. When she introduced her team of three, one person was responsible for “watching the algorithm” and monitoring what’s the latest news regarding YouTube.

I write a weekly tech and media digest newsletter and in almost every edition I have to include a YouTube-related piece of news. It’s just so big there is always something happening.

Know-how from creators (Shorts can drive channel growth)

If you are not following what’s going on in the creator economy, you are missing out. Not only that it is growing so fast, but creators often share how they are using platforms, what works for them, what doesn’t.

One of the creator economy focused newsletter I get is The Publish Press, which is “breaking down the business of creators”. It’s a companion newsletter to the Colin and Samir YouTube channel focusing on creators.

In one of the recent editions, the pair shared five insights on YouTube Shorts.

As everywhere else, the TikTok-style vertical short videos are taking over the focus and attention of the platform and users. On YouTube, they are called Shorts.

Colin and Samir ran a couple of experiments and found out Short can be used to meaningfully drive a channel’s follower count. According to their data, Shorts videos with a built-in loop had higher subscribe rate, but the ideal time length kept changing.

This is just one of the examples of what one has to watch to develop a YouTube channel.

New YouTube feature on smart TVs is opening up a lot of interactivity options

Another example is a recently announced feature YouTube is rolling out globally which will connect your phone to your TV. If you open the app while watching it on your smart TV, you can connect the two and turn it into a companion for the TV. It will let you add comments, queue up next, like and subscribe.

It was built on the insight that over 80% of people said they use another digital device while watching TV. If successful, it will make YouTube much more than just a place for viewing videos. Suddenly, the phone extends the capability of what you can accomplish – finishing a transaction, answering a poll or a quiz, publishing interactive videos where the audience decides what’s next.

YouTube is well positioned to make good use of the coupling of the TV and the smartphone. For the past couple of years, tech giants have been waging a war for the living room. All the Echoes and Nest Hubs are small pieces to dominate how people interact and which platform they interact with.

That said, YouTube might soon start offering interesting interactivity features for people’s homes and it might be a good idea to keep an eye on that.

I’m not saying each newsroom needs a YouTube specialist. If you don’t produce so many videos or none at all, it would be an overkill. Although, if you want to push your news brand to more audiences, YouTube can help. But to do that you need someone who understands the platform.