A recent case study by The Guardian revealed that YouTube stars are under escalating pressure to come up with new content. The push for fresh ideas has stemmed from changes to the website’s algorithm, meaning some creators are seeing lower engagement on their videos.
The video-sharing website has over 1.8 billion active users and 300 hours of video uploaded per minute, making it a challenge for YouTubers to keep creating unique, relevant content.
Where the problem lies
With popular channels constantly producing the same type of videos such as fashion hauls, video game walkthroughs and product reviews, it’s no surprise that the YouTube content pool is crowded.
A lot of high-ranking YouTubers often repeat their previous work, such as PewDiePie, a video game commentator with over 60 million subscribers, and Yuya, a beauty vlogger who has 21 million subscribers. Both get the majority of their views from videos on reoccurring trends and topics. Each user is known for their staple videos, but for how long can they keep regurgitating the same content before it gets stale and viewer counts start to drop?
Changing the game
YouTubers can be hesitant to mix up video styles, as they often receive backlash when they do. It can cause them to lose subscribers and attract negative comments from fans who don’t like their new content – which then deters them from even trying.
Long-time YouTuber Shane Dawson, who’s known for his light-hearted parody videos about pop culture, has recently made a content U-turn. Moving away from his usual style, he has released a documentary series about internet celebrity Jeffree Star, giving viewers intimate access to his private life.
The popular content creator discussed his decision on social media, explaining why he came up with the idea for the series and what it meant for him to make it.
“YouTube is not the best place right now for somebody like me, so I’m trying to figure out alternate ways to make money and hire more people and make more of the content,” explained Dawson on his social media channels.
“I just want to keep making stuff that I love and care 100% about because I’ve never felt so passionate and fulfilled in my life.”
As expected, Shane Dawson experienced a lot of controversy on social media towards his choice to collaborate with Jeffree Star, which shows the bind that many YouTubers are in when it comes to trying something new.
What needs to happen now?
Despite other challenges that video creators are now facing, it does not take away from the fact that the demand for new, innovative content is growing, and the pressure will only increase.
Delving into alternative video genres and developing ideas based on changing audience interests could be the best option for YouTubers to continue producing content their audiences love and stay relevant in the evolving digital age.