My name is Todd Deeken. I’m part of the team behind Everyday Driver - one of the first automotive YouTube channels (First posting in 2007, and in the YouTube partner beta program) and still posting now to two channels, /EverydayDriver and /TestDriveVideos.
We’ve definitely benefitted from YouTube’s content creator/partner program and have taken that success into other areas; a broadcast TV show and a top automotive podcast.
While we still post regularly to YouTube (6-8 videos per month between the two channels) we don’t post daily and we obviously have additional outlets that also require our efforts as a brand.
We try to always keep our quality high and our releases consistent, and we’ve seen an interesting pattern in our videos which sparked an idea we believe would be helpful for both YouTube and creators with a range of work, like ourselves.
As one of the longest running channels in Automotive, (15 years, this year!) we would expect that most auto-enthusiast viewers are aware of our work. And yet, on every single video we see the following comments:
1 - “This is the first video I’ve ever seen from these guys.”
2 - “How does this channel not have over a million subscribers?”
Combine this with the fact that 70% or more of our monthly viewership comes from non-subscribers and we find it amazing that these comments persist.
We realize that projections from past viewership, subscriber interest, and the algorithm all play a part in whether a video is served up to a potential viewer. Most of the time, we see how that works properly for our level of consistent output. The analytics information YouTube provides is second to none, and we appreciate and understand how the past engagement and viewership trends guide recommendations.
However, we have a film or two per year which are on a much higher level than everything else. As a result, we know they would play to a broader audience than our typical releases. In these cases, we believe there should be a way to elevate those pieces in the YouTube recommendation space. We’ve seen this pattern on other channels we follow as well; consistent content of similar quality, with an occasional piece on a significantly higher level. These special films seem to deserve special placement, but are currently and understandably served up the same as everything else based on the history and projections of a channel.
What we suggest is a new category on a person’s YouTube homepage. We’ll call it “YouTube Curated” for this discussion, but it could be anything that differentiates it from standard YouTube recommendations based on clicks and viewer trends.
Like the Academy Awards, or a film festival like Sundance or Cannes, this new category would be selected by human viewers going through videos submitted for consideration. As with the Oscars or a festival, it would allow YouTube to shape culture and elevate content that should be seen but might be overlooked for more blockbuster fare.
In the same way a small but great film gets a viewership bump because it was nominated or won an Oscar, this “YouTube Curated” would showcase the lessor seen but excellent work, which might explode in viewership because of such a recommendation. Of course, some YouTube channels and content will always be huge, just like the latest superhero movie doesn’t need an award nomination to be successful. This curated, human screened process would be something different.
Of course, the sheer volume of YouTube channels and content could make this overwhelming, so we’ve considered some ways to keep this special and surmountable while also putting the process on creators to be selective and have forethought with what they submit.
Some possible requirements:
- YouTube posts a new list of curated videos once a month.
- In order to be considered, videos must be submitted in advance before the potential deadline for the month (Nothing can be submitted that’s already public on YouTube - it must be pre-release so the “Curated” section is all premieres).
- Organized by video type, in the same way the Academy Awards has best picture, best actor, this could have: (automotive, Makeup/Fashion, Comedy, etc).
- Only open to channels with more than 100,000 subscribers (Could potentially have an upper subscriber limit as well)
- A creator can only submit 2 times per year. (requiring creators to reserve their submissions for special videos)
Other requirements would, of course, be necessary, but the intention would be to make creators plan in advance for those videos that could even qualify. Every creation wouldn’t be worth the effort, in the same way every movie isn’t viable for the Academy Awards.
Our hope is that this would offer a way for YouTube to further inspire viewers and showcase things the audience would enjoy while also boosting those extra-effort productions creators make as their biggest films of the year.
I sincerely ask that you would pass this along to anyone at YouTube who might find it interesting. And I’d welcome any further conversation about the idea - I lay no claim to it, other than my desire to see it help our work and the work of others.
Thank you for your time and consideration and I look forward to hearing a response.
Co-Host / Producer