Friday, 1 June 2012


The most common statement we hear at TVE is 'we're going to use YouTube. It's free and it's got a massive audience.'

Well, good luck with that.

Here are a few of the reasons why using Google as your video provider is a bad idea, and this doesn't even cover the reasons commercial content owners shouldn't use YouTube for anything more than promotion.

1) It's buggy:

And many of the main issues are adequately outlined in YouTube's own terms and conditions:

2) You can’t commercialise it:

  • you agree not to use the Service (including the YouTube Player) for any of the following commercial uses unless you obtain YouTube's prior written approval:
  • the sale of access to the Service
  • the sale of advertising, sponsorships or promotions placed on or within the Service, or Content;
  • the sale of advertising, sponsorships or promotions on any page of an ad-enabled blog or website containing Content delivered via the Service unless other material not obtained from YouTube appears on the same page and is of sufficient value to be the basis for such sales
  • prohibited commercial uses shall not include (i) uploading an original video to YouTube, (ii) maintaining an original channel on the Website in order to promote a business or artistic enterprise, (iii) showing YouTube videos through the YouTube Player or otherwise on an ad-enabled blog or website, subject to those advertising restrictions set out in 5.1(E)(iii) above; and (iv) any use that is expressly authorised by YouTube in writing

3) You can’t really customise it:

if you use the YouTube Player on your website may not modify, build upon or block any portion or functionality of the YouTube Player including but not limited to links back to the Website;

4) You have no access to your viewer information

you agree not to collect or harvest any personal data of any user of the Website or any Service (and agree that this shall be deemed to include YouTube account names);

5) You can’t use it to promote your company

you agree not to use the Website or the Services (including the comments and email features in the Website) for the solicitation of business in the course of trade or in connection with a commercial enterprise;

6) They can change things without telling you:

YouTube is constantly innovating in order to provide the best possible experience for its users. You acknowledge and agree that the form and nature of the Service which YouTube provides may change from time to time without prior notice to you.

7) They can just stop the service at any time:

As part of this continuing innovation, you acknowledge and agree that YouTube may stop (permanently or temporarily) providing the Service (or any features within the Service) to you or to users generally at YouTube's sole discretion, without prior notice to you

8) And you lose control of your rights:

When you upload or post Content to YouTube, you grant:

  • to YouTube, a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable licence (with right to sub-licence) to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform that Content in connection with the provision of the Service and otherwise in connection with the provision of the Service and YouTube's business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels;
  • to each user of the Service, a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free licence to access your Content through the Service, and to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display and perform such Content to the extent permitted by the functionality of the Service and under these Terms.

9) No SLA

In particular YouTube does not represent or warrant to you that:

  • your use of the Service will meet your requirements,
  • your use of the Service will be uninterrupted, timely, secure or free from error,
  • any information obtained by you as a result of your use of the Service will be accurate or reliable, and
  • that defects in the operation or functionality of any software provided to you as part of the Service will be corrected.

Then there are a whole ream of reasons beyond this:

10 ) Commercial - if you're trying to make money from your content, then you don't have a chance: unless you're a huge player, there are no options for charging viewers and even getting income from advertising is tough (Google does make paltry payments to its most popular video contributors, but don't give up the day job).

11) Legal - you own your content, but Google owns the right to exploit it. Also, the YouTube service itself is of dubious legality and persistently contravenes copyright and trademark law using 'safe harbour' and 'cease and desist' as the only mitigation - compare this with the responsibilities of a proper broadcaster, either online of offline. By using YouTube you may be making yourself and your company culpable. Is it worth it ?

12) Clutter - skateboarding dogs and cats being tortured: do you really want to keep company with this stuff ? They say that you're judged by the company that you keep. Try doing a search for your brand on YouTube and see what happens.

13) That Logo - yes, YouTube's paw print all over your lovely content . It says just one thing: "cheapskate".

14) Search - this may be the cornerstone of the Google empire, but try to generate anything predictable from search on YouTube and your viewers may be in for an unpredictable time when accessing your video.

15) Social - Google runs its own social network, so forget sharing your video on Facebook or Twitter.

16) Live - it is being rolled out apparently, but you can't do live transmission on YouTube unless you're special.

17) Schedules - you can't do scheduled transmission on YouTube.

18) Flexibility - there is none, you take it or leave it. Taking it is nice and easy, just like crack cocaine. But do try and think through the consequences...

19) Identity - again, you take or leave the Google identity. All that money you invested in your brand gets sidelined.

20) Supporting Your Competitor - in many lines of business, companies have found themselves unable to do business without Google, and are consequently totally dependent on a company that is, ostensibly, their enemy. Using their services and becoming dependent on them is part of Google's business model, so be aware..

21) Blocking - you may well find your videos (at least periodically) blocked in major markets such as China, Turkey, Thailand or Pakistan: this is very unlikely to happen if you use a proper hosting provider that is not politicised in the way Google is.

22) Tools - YouTube has very basic tools for managing your video archive and your content, once uploaded is inaccessible via ftp, for example.

23) vCommerce - there are no tools for video commerce.

24) Apps - you can't power an iPhone app (apart from the YouTube app) from YouTube, nor have your icon on a Smart TV. You only live within the YouTube app on platforms that command 30% of viewing now.

25) No TV Experience - Google has always made money when people click, so don't expect them to understand the TV experience, where broadcasters and channels make more money when people DON'T click (but rather sit back and watch for hours at a time).

26) WebM - apparently, Google is going to convert all its video to its own  "proprietary, open source" format WebM and stop supporting the industry standard MPEG4/H.264 and the nascent HEVC format.

27) Privacy - YouTube is a public medium, but does offer privacy options, however these are limited.

28) Content length - Google restricts the length of video you can upload to YouTube unless you're special.

29) Encoding - with YouTube you have to upload very large files to the internet, which can be painfully slow - using a desktop app and then uploading is far, far quicker.

30) Categorisation - you're stuck with the few categories that Google apply.

31) YouTube Wants To Go Hollywood - what happens when Google decides it can make more money serving movies and TV programmes than by serving your content (just look at the tabs on the new interface).

32) It's got a really silly, amateurish name. Would you trust your books with someone called YouLedger ? Please.

I don't think we need to go on. YouTube is a very effective broadcaster. That is a particular distribution medium, like a newspaper. It is not the answer to your video strategy.

But we would say that wouldn't we!


s19 said...

Yes you would say that, but actually a lot of what you write here is either complete nonsense or heavily one-sided, even for biased profit-making company. You mention the name is silly and childish - that pretty much sums up most of your points in this post!

I've never, ever seen a 404 message on Youtube and it's pretty damn reliable, without having an SLA, which of course it doesn't have because you don't pay for it. Can't commercialise it? Fair enough, but that's not what it's mainly intended for.

You seem to be needlessly bashing Google, or at the very least don't understand the service they offer, simply because it differs to your own.

manashi12 said...

YouTube is constantly innovating in order to provide the best possible experience for its users. You acknowledge and agree that the form and nature of the Service which YouTube provides may change from time to time without prior notice to you.moreviews