YouTube’s Hunter Walk Predicts The Future Of Online Video

Online video has come a long way in the last five years, since YouTube hit the ground running. In honor of YouTube’s first five years, the video site’s Director of Product Management Hunter Walk offered up some of his predictions about the future of online video and where he thinks the industry will be five years from now. We wanted to share some of his most interesting predictions with our readers.

The Death Of Online Video?

In his article on The Huffington Post, Walk discusses the massive changes that he believes lie ahead for online video, starting out with a very bold statement – “Online video will die.” When Walk says that online video will die within the next five years he doesn’t mean this in the literal sense. He doesn’t mean that there will no longer be any video online, but rather that online video will become so much mainstream and that there will be such an increase in the quality of online video that there will no longer be a distinction between online video and offline video.

I could not agree more with Walk’s point. In the past months there has been more and more discussion about the future of television and the idea that more and more viewers are switching over to the Internet to watch not only web series and videos, but television series and films as well. Viewers are able to watch television on their computers and web content on their televisions. The line is becoming blurred and is likely to become more and more blurred over time.

The “Channel Of You”

Walk also predicts that five years from now viewers will not have to flip through channel upon channel to find the content they are looking for. There will be one channel for each viewer that represents everything that matters to that viewer.

Walk describes:

“The “Channel of You” will be created from hundreds of thousands, if not millions of video sources, representing a wide spectrum of content creators and will reflect who you are and what you’re interested in. There will be videos created by friends and family that showcase your cousin’s wedding, or your son’s graduation. There will be niche videos that speak to your unique interests like scuba diving, video game tips, or car repair. And there will be mass media channels that deliver content created by aspiring independent creators or mainstream studios, sports leagues and record labels.”

This content will find you directly, you won’t have to search for content any more. All the content that interests you should be delivered to you directly, via “a mix of super-smart algorithmically-driven technology and social signals that allow your friends to share what they are watching.” I imagine that this will result in all of us being bombarded with video content that is more interesting and relevant than any we have ever seen. However, will we wind up wasting our lives away watching all that great content that is being served up search-free?

Benefits For Creators

Walk predicts that over the next five years there will be increased rewards and benefits for creators. He says that “online video monetization is in its infancy”. Over the next few years ad formats are bound to become far more sophisticated, allowing advertisers to target their campaigns much more effectively. As online video ads become more sophisticated, Walk sees a trend towards television ad distributers shifting their budgets towards new, more effective advertising online.

Creators will also make revenue by charging consumers for content. He says, “contrary to popular belief, consumers will be willing to pay for content so long as it doesn’t come with consumption restraints (watch anywhere) and they are able to feel an emotional bond with the content creator.” I couldn’t agree more. Today people don’t bat an eyelash when buying expensive cable television packages. As the quality and speed of online video increases and more and more content is available one the web, purchasing online content will be no different than subscribing to HBO or Showtime.

What do you think about Hunter Walk’s predictions for the future of online video? Do you agree that the lines will become so blurred that the term “online video” will be dead and only “video” will exist?

Publish date: May 20, 2010 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT