In the years since it's creation, Youtube has dominated the video streaming market. There simply aren't any competitors that can even hold a candle to the trillions of views that Youtube has accumulated. But with some of big changes, people are starting to grow tired of the decisions made by Youtube executives. And if they continue on the path that they've started, we might see Youtube fall from the coveted #1 position.
This is something that some of the more analytical Youtubers have definitely picked up on. Starting with music and eventually branching into other areas, Youtube has consistently cherrypicked videos for 'copyright infringement'. While this makes sense for people who post things such as full movies (a somehow still thriving community) and paywalled content, it has also caused the removal of videos for some ridiculous reasons.
An organization called Team Four Star is an exceptional model for this. Their primary work consists of abridging (or dubbing over for comedic purposes) a little show called Dragon Ball Z. While almost all of the audio is original and it stands alone as its own work, they have been subject to removal of videos due to copyright infringement. At some points, it got bad enough that they were forced to only post their videos on their own websites. Any company can call copyright infringement on something that they don't enjoy, leading to debates on the terms of fair use. Youtube tends to err on the side of corporations, leading to butting heads with Youtube's biggest asset.
Personality and View Count
Everyone knows that Google owns Youtube; what most don't realize is that Google is losing money to the site.They spend $3.8 billion on the site each year, but are reaping in a fairly small amount in comparison to its revenue. So, why would they bother continuing?
Youtube is still the #1 video streaming site worldwide. With over a billion active users of the site, it's become nearly synonymous with online video. This means that content creators who are essentially working for Youtube, i.e. those that rely on the site to generate their primary source of revenue. Already, many creators that relied on Youtube are forced to make additional money off of crowdfunding sites, offering rewards to those who donate a set amount of money monthly.
This is largely due to cutting of revenue towards Youtubers; paying them less per view count. This may even be overlooked for the most ambitious of content creators, were it not for Youtube's poor treatment of its creators. While some of their more adventurous collaborations and big events have been interesting, many creators feel as though they are treated poorly.
Censorship and Youtube Red
These two are the most recent moves that Youtube has made to essentially screw themselves over. A few months ago, Youtube announced a paywalled site called Youtube Red. This gave monthly users access to unlimited videos with no advertisements, as well as giving exclusive content from creators such as MatPat of Game Theorists, Pewdiepie, and Rooster Teeth.
In addition, ad counts have gone up significantly. The other day, I watched a 10-minute long video that had four separate ad breaks. Before that, I had only ever seen one at the beginning. If that amount was so large, it was usually stretched out over the span of hour long videos. MatPat even went so far as to say that he understood fans who felt like he had sold out and indirectly advised people to watch his show while they had their free trial of the service.
Youtube also released new censorship rules for those who have monetized videos. These videos are the ones that Youtube is putting additional ads on; those who get many views already and are more likely to have people willing to watch the trailer. They've even taken away the "skip video" option in many ads. While this almost looked good for content creators, they also released a policy allowing demonetization of any videos that are deemed to be not-advertisement-friendly.
The stipulations are fairly noncommittal, citing that "sexually suggestive content", "violence", or "inappropriate language" are potential reasons for a video to be demonetized. It even goes so far as to say that "controversial or sensitive subjects" are not welcome on the site. I struggle to think of many viral videos that do not break one of these intentionally vague statements. A popular Youtuber named Philip Defranco recently had seven of his videos demonetized. This is especially ridiculous considering is longstanding partnership and collaborations he's had with the company.
Youtube will never fail completely. It's too big to ever fully fall from public memory or thought. But it is a very real possibility that the site may not be the go-to for video streaming. And that may be even faster than we expect. While not-so-popular sites don't boast the numbers that Youtube does, they have a better format and could very easily begin reaching out to creators who feel betrayed by Youtube.
This is also not the definitive end of Youtube's reign. There are things that the company can do to prevent their downfall. That being said, in the past year, a Youtuber named Cr1tikal released some of his videos in a rather inventive fashion. While the majority of his videos are based on rather crude humor, they're no more offensive than the average fourth-grader's poop jokes. When some of his videos were taken down, he re-released them on Pornhub. This was due to their obvious policy of not banning very much from their site. When Pornhub has become a viable substitute, maybe it's time for Youtube to reevaluate their position.