2 min read

Netflix Needs (to Hire) YouTubers

Every three hours, YouTube adds as much content as the entirety of Netflix and Amazon’s platforms combined. That’s 90,000 hours of content.

There’s certainly a lot of junk that’s uploaded to YouTube. But there’s also enough good content to make the algorithms effective and for me to keep coming back daily for more.

YouTube has the most leverage in dominating the future of entertainment because of its expansive and unparalleled archive, coupled with its ability to use AI to resurface old content.

MG Siegler has an interesting argument for why Netflix should create a pathway for amateur creators (i.e. YouTubers) to upload content to its platform:

“Given the strength of recommendation media platforms like TikTok and YouTube, and the way traditional social media platforms are chasing them, it seems likely Professional Media platforms (such as Netflix) may try to follow suit (in fact, Netflix’s co-CEO, Reed Hastings, may have even foreshadowed this when he famously stated that his biggest competitors were TikTok and YouTube, both of which are open to any creator). However, in order to be able to match the exact right content with the exact right person, a platform needs an ocean of content, including extremely niche content for every person on the planet. The only way to have that much content is to be an open creation platform where users of the platform are able to create on the platform. So, I expect Netflix and similar platforms to let anyone create, not just the professional studios,” said Michael Mignano.

Moving into UGC, of course, would be the exact opposite of what Netflix has done to date. That is, spend billions on professional content (first licensing, then creating exclusive content) to spur subscriber growth. But now that such growth has stalled, perhaps it’s time to revisit every strategy. – “Pro Am Netflix” by MG Siegler

YouTube and Netflix each have what the other wants. YouTube hasn’t had its own branded cultural moment like Bird Box or Squid Games. Netflix doesn’t have the user-generated content flywheel that creates an endless stream of new content.

The difference, though, is that YouTube has already tried to become Netflix with YouTube Originals. So why hasn’t Netflix tried to become a version of YouTube?

The quality of storytelling from YouTubers like Yes Theory, Casey Neistat, MKBHD, Emma Chamberlain, and Mr. Beast is greater than a lot of the content you find on Netflix already. Netflix could easily make a deal with a certain class of YouTubers to bring their content to their platform and provide the resources to “up their production value” to fit Netflix.

The two main concerns with Netflix becoming a platform for user-generated content are curation and exclusivity.

How would Netflix curate this influx of content without muddying up its current archive of movies and shows? And how will they deal with exclusive content?

Twitch just ended its partner exclusivity which prevented its streamers from streaming on other platforms like YouTube and Facebook Live. While it’s a good move for gaining respect from their streaming partners, it could prove disastrous for its platform engagement.

If Netflix were to allow, let’s say, Mr. Beast to begin putting content on Netflix, will they ask for content exclusivity or go for a more democratic approach?