I have long opined that new media models will not kill traditional media but merely shift how traditional media works. Yesterday’s Chart of the Day from Silicon Alley Insider bolsters this view, as it shows Hulu making significant gains against YouTube.
This trend should really come as no surprise. The content on Hulu is created by professionals with big budgets and lots of experience. The content on YouTube is largely comprised of amateur (and often amateurish) content with little or no budget.
That’s likely why YouTube has been working to cut deals with the pros to carry their content, but they have yet to gain significant traction. I don’t follow these things well enough to know all the reasons, but I have to suspect that at least a piece of it that some major entertainment brands would prefer not to be equated with consumer generated content.
One of the other interesting things this chart shows is that YouTube traffic growth is stagnant, sitting roughly where it was six months ago.
Consumer entertainment consumption is basically a zero sum game. One cannot reasonably watch TV, go to a movie, and watch content online at the same time. For the past decade, this fact has been obscured a bit to Internet watchers as the online audience itself grows, facilitating spectacular growth in some web sites’ traffic. As Internet access becomes more ubiquitous, we will see more sites stagnate and even decline as consumers’ habits begin to shake out.
Over the long haul, the advantage will go to the professional content creators and promoters who have key advantages in budget, publicity, distribution, access to recognized talent, and more. Hulu may just be the tip of the spear in driving this point home.