YouTube has grown and evolved a massive amount since it launched. It’s even changed owner. And yet 2010 could be the biggest year for change so far. YouTube is already rolling out a new minimalist redesign, and its first ever profits could follow in its wake.
A New Year, A New YouTube
2009 was a big year for YouTube. The site began streaming more premium video content after doing deals with various content partners. It also began looking at pay options, the first of which has now come to fruition.
It also played a big part in the development and launch of Vevo, the music video site run by the record labels themselves. There was also the introduction of full HD, and experiments with a new advertising model.
But 2010 could potentially be even bigger.
YouTube is in the process of rolling out its new redesign, and the chances are you will have already encountered it. It is very close to the ‘Feather’ design that was part of TestTube, YouTube’s ideas incubator, revealed in December.
The redesign can be described with just one word: minimalism. In the same way the Google homepage has now rid itself of all extraneous and unnecessary elements, so have the Video pages, which are where we all spend our time viewing videos on the site.
Most of the changes are aesthetic. Most of the labels and text designed to point people in the right direction have gone, as has the Broadcast Yourself tag-line underneath the main logo. It’s as though YouTube has decided we’re all tuned in to the site, and the Web in general, so as not to need the constant hand-holding any longer.
Other things have been moved, such as the video description and view counter, while others have been dropped, such as the five star rating system. This has been replaced with a simpler ‘Like’ and ‘Thumbs Down’ system, no doubt inspired by social networks such as Facebook.
YouTube Profits In 2010?
Meanwhile, it appears Google is confident YouTube will go into the black this year. Google CEO Eric Schmidt told The FT that increased advertising revenues should see the site turn a profit in 2010, something that hasn’t looked likely until now.
“We’ve figured it out. Nowadays, just about every advertising campaign involves YouTube as part of the solution. That’s a big deal.”
This would be a big turnaround for the site, as it was only nine months ago that some analysts claimed YouTube was on for a massive loss in 2009. There was even talk of Google dropping the site as a bad buy at the time, but I’m guessing that talk has now dried up.
Profit or not, YouTube is using its already-impressive position to grow to greater heights. And the redesign is clearly just the first step.
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