YouTube has opened up to breaking news reports, according to industry headlines and general social media agency chatter this week . The offering comes by way of a channel on the video sharing site dedicated to incoming reports, and is only available to people who have signed in with their Google account on either desktop or mobile.
In many ways the move has been a long time coming, and makes perfect sense as social networks increasingly look to partner with broadcast media in a bid to extend their overall offering, in turn pulling in more engaged users and blurring the lines as to what constitutes what type of platform. Already, Facebook and Twitter have been attempting to bolster their reputation as sources of up to the minute current affairs stories and footage, rather than simply tools for re-sharing, which has sparked controversy amongst publishers and broadcasters who see themselves as exploited for valuable content, while proving incredibly popular with users.
The new breaking news section appears in the same style as all others on the YouTube homepage- so think a carousel of content ready for you to choose what to view. According to what we have read, this may not be a permanent addition, though, but instead a section that appears only when major events happen, such as the Barcelona terror attacks, or Italian earthquake. This in itself poses a difficult question; what constitutes a major event? That’s probably one for another blog post, though.
YouTube could be well positioned to make the most of a breaking news section, with sky high viewing stats that show this is now becoming an equivalent to TV-proper. For example, in 2016 the average viewing session on the platform lasted for longer than 40 minutes, with YouTube audiences increasingly tuning in through their television- 2015-2016 saw a 50% increase in this type of usage. What this means is that people have a habit to dedicating serious time to YouTube in the same way they do traditional broadcast media, whereas Facebook and Twitter are more known for videos that last a minute or so, before viewers move on to consume more content.