YouTube's 2024 Focus: AI, Creators, TV & Subscriptions

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  • YouTube prioritizes AI, creators as businesses, television, and subscriptions

  • YouTube live streamers can now be discovered along with short-form videos

  • Instagram adds another third-party app feature with Grid Preview

  • Snapchat wants to merge Spotlight and Stories for a better user experience

  • ESPN focuses on inclusivity and representation with the latest cohort of its Creator Network

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YouTube Shares Its Priorities for 2024


In a letter, YouTube CEO Neal Mohan outlined the platform's focus areas for 2024. Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • AI-Powered Tools for Content Production: YouTube plans to introduce more AI-powered tools to assist creators in content production, focusing on Shorts. Its short-form video experience is now generating over 70 billion daily views and has seen a 50% year-over-year growth in channels uploading Shorts.

  • Expanding Monetization Opportunities: YouTube aims to expand monetization opportunities for creators, building on the 3 million channels already enrolled in the YouTube Partner Program and the $70 billion disbursed to creators, artists, and media companies in the past three years. Additionally, the platform is working with policymakers to validate creators' careers by including them in labor data.

  • Growing Television Viewership: YouTube has seen substantial growth in television viewership, with audiences spending over 1 billion hours each day watching YouTube content on their TVs. Notably, creators with content primarily viewed on TV have experienced an increase of over 400%.

  • Expansion of Subscription Business: It also plans to expand its subscription business, which currently boasts over 8 million subscribers for YouTube TV and a combined total of 100 million subscribers for YouTube Music and Premium.

Why It Matters: YouTube's priorities remain aligned with its focus areas from 2023, aiming to empower creators with new tools and revenue-driving opportunities while expanding their reach beyond mobile devices and computers

The growing popularity of Shorts and YouTube on television underscores the importance for creators to invest in YouTube's short-form video experience alongside long-form content. Additionally, optimizing content for larger screens becomes increasingly important as the consumption of creator content on TVs and other bigger screens becomes more prevalent.

YouTube Now Displays Live Streams In The Shorts Feed


YouTube has launched Live in the Shorts Feed. This feature allows creators who stream vertically to be discovered in the Shorts recommendation feed. When viewers browse through the feed, they may see previews of live streams with the option to view them in full screen. Viewers can also continue swiping through the feed to discover other live streams.

Why It Matters: Live in the Shorts Feed resembles the TikTok LIVE experience, enabling users to find live streams as easily as short-form videos. This boosts discoverability for creators by giving them more opportunities to bring viewers to their live streams, which is also beneficial for brands that partner with creators on sponsored live streams.

YouTube, alongside TikTok, has been steadily enhancing its live-streaming capabilities. Both platforms have focused on providing creators with new opportunities to interact with audiences, including TikTok’s recently launched Sub Spaces. With Twitch facing challenges, the competition in the live-streaming arena is intensifying.

Instagram Expands Access to Grid Preview


Instagram has expanded access to its Grid Preview feature, allowing users to preview how their posts will appear on their profile grid while editing photos or carousels via a Preview button. Currently, this feature is not available for Reels.

Why It Matters: Grid Preview offers a convenient way for creators and brands to assess how their latest uploads will fit within their existing content. With Reels and changes in how users discover accounts and content, maintaining a consistent aesthetic across profiles has become less common.

Instagram has been gradually introducing features that were previously only accessible through third-party apps, such as link-in-bio-tools and content scheduling. While Instagram's offerings may have limited functionalities compared to dedicated third-party tools, they provide alternative solutions for users who prefer simpler, convenient, and cost-free versions.

Meta Plans To Automatically Label AI-Generated Content


In the coming months, Meta plans to automatically label AI-generated content uploaded to Facebook, Instagram, and Threads. The company is collaborating with industry partners to develop a common technical standard for identifying AI content, enabling Meta to detect and label AI-generated content from various sources like Google, OpenAI, Adobe, and Midjourney.

Initially, the focus will be on photos, as AI tools for videos and audio lack sufficient signals for accurate detection. For the time being, users will be required to disclose and label this type of content, potentially facing penalties if they fail to do so.

Why It Matters: Meta's efforts are relevant in light of upcoming elections, where AI-driven misinformation is expected to be an issue. By taking steps to proactively label digitally altered or manipulated content, Meta can provide more transparency and protection for users.

TikTok announced a similar move last year, but its effectiveness remains unknown, as minimal content is labeled as AI despite issues with deepfakes. Meta is likely to fare better, but identifying and labeling AI content will require consistent efforts. Creators will need to play a role as well, ensuring they properly disclose AI content, similar to sponsored content.


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Threads Is Testing The Ability To Save Posts


Threads has begun a limited test of the ability for users to save posts. Users can bookmark a post and revisit it later using a 'Save' option. Additionally, it has added the ability for users to view all the posts they have liked on the Web.

Why It Matters: With over 130 million monthly active users, Threads continues to add new features, including highly requested ones like Saved Posts.

Similar to Instagram, users now have a convenient and native way to keep track of posts and return to them later—without the need to copy and paste post URLs or take screenshots. This may also drive more engagement, as users are more likely to reply to saved posts or repost them with their own commentary.

Threads might further expand on this by launching a Collections-like feature, allowing users to curate Saved Posts into different themes.

Snapchat Plans to Unify Spotlight with Stories

During Snapchat’s Q4 2023 earnings call, CEO Evan Spiegel revealed his plans to unify the user experience by merging Spotlight, its TikTok-like feature, with Stories. He also wants to utilize Spotlight’s ranking mechanisms and recommendation engines to enhance Stories.

Why It Matters: Social media platforms are increasingly simplifying the user experience, from tweaking navigation bars to consolidating content formats. At one point, Instagram was even considering merging Reels and Stories into a single feed.

Snapchat will follow suit with the eventual rollout of a unified experience for Spotlight and Story content. Recent sightings of a vertical, scrollable feed for Stories resembling Spotlight suggest this unification isn’t far away.

This consolidation not only enhances the viewing experience but also delivers more relevant content to users, fostering increased engagement and attracting advertisers. Despite now having 800 million monthly active users, Snapchat’s ad business lags behind many competitors.

ESPN Launches The Second Iteration of Its Creator Network


ESPN has launched the second iteration of its Creator Network, sponsored by Adidas, featuring an all-female roster that includes creators such as Shanteona Keys, Alexa Stone, Leah Clapper, Neha Sridhar, Belle Pacheco, and Lauren Rossi. They cover sports like soccer, gymnastics, F1, and MMA through commentary, interviews, comedy, and more.

Participants in the program will receive support and attend courses led by ESPN executives and industry leaders. They will also have the opportunity to cover events such as the Women's Final Four, the NFL Draft, the NBA Finals, and The ESPYs.

Why It Matters: Building on its successful inaugural program, which garnered 18 million incremental impressions and elevated it to TikTok's most-followed brand in 2023, ESPN is looking to improve inclusivity and representation in sports media. Through this initiative, creators will have the chance to learn from seasoned sports media professionals and create content at some of the most prestigious sporting events of the year.

By collaborating with creators who produce content beyond ESPN's core verticals, the network can expand its reach and engage with broader audiences. Similar to Taylor Swift's appearances at NFL games this year and YouTube's NFL Sunday Ticket creators' efforts, ESPN recognizes the potential to spark interest in sports beyond just the players, teams, and games.

ESPN joins a growing list of brands that have invested in creator programs. This trend is expected to continue, as indicated by a recent study conducted by IAB and Talk Shoppe, which revealed that 44% of advertisers plan to increase spending on creator programs in the coming year.

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Affiliate marketing has become somewhat of a polarizing topic more recently, as brands focus more on performance influencer marketing campaigns. While creators are pushing back, some creators see affiliate marketing as a key revenue driver, especially with the emergence of TikTok Shop.

It’s been over a week since Universal Music Group let its licensing agreement with TikTok expire, leading to muted videos and frustrated creators. The CEO of Warner Music, which expanded its partnership with TikTok last year, shared his thoughts on its deal with TikTok, as well as the belief that UMG and TikTok will find a path forward.

Featuring insights from 2,000 creators, the report revealed that over 96% of creators are earning less than $100K per year. Creators who are surpassing that mark are typically doing so by having a handful of revenue streams, prioritizing YouTube, and utilizing AI.


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