According to allAfrica.com, YouTube views shot up by 90% in South Africa in 2013. We mostly spent our viewing time looking for good entertainment and comedy – two fields local content creators like Anne Hirsch and ZA News are excelling at.
What brought on this sudden spike in YouTube enthusiasm? Well, South Africans are using the internet more and more, and mobile devices are evolving, giving internet users constant access to online content. Of the six billion hours global viewers spend on YouTube each month, 40% happens on mobile devices.
However, the major factor in YouTube increased popularity is the arrival of Generation C.
According to the allAfrica article, 70% of South African YouTube users are young adults between the ages of 18 and 34, also dubbed as Generation C, or “the YouTube Generation”. According to a recent survey, this group would more readily use their smartphones to consult their favourite video content platform for an answer than ask a real person.
Jared Molko, YouTube brand partnerships lead at Google South Africa, was quoted as saying, "This same group move back and forth between different devices and 88% of them are online daily. Research also shows that 63% of YouTube users talk about what they see on YouTube with their peers."
According to Thierry Cassuto, executive producer and co-creator of South Africa's satirical puppet show, ZA News, it doesn’t particularly matter whether you are a major corporation, or just a hobby videographer. “Google has managed to create a social video ecosystem with such critical mass that your videos basically don't exist on the web if they're not on YouTube.”
In terms of marketing, the future is clear. You want to have a presence where Generation C is, and Generation C is browsing YouTube. A colleague recently underlined the value of video content, and the drastic increase of South African YouTube users just proves her point again.
The value of video
With access to all the information out there, we have the privilege of being fussy about what we watch, listen to and read. Long gone are the days when we had to wait with bated breath for Riaan Cruywagen to tell us what’s happening in the world.
It is for this very reason internet users are accessing YouTube to watch what they want, when they want, and, thanks to mobile devices, wherever they want. The user-friendly platform, as well as the freedom to re-watch and save links to favourite video clips, has taken a lot of advertising focus away from television and moved it to online marketing.
With some redesigning on the cards for YouTube, CEO Larry Page is working in conjunction with Foursquare's director of design, Ian Spalter, to make the site as elegant as it is popular. That is to say if, after Whatsapp and virtual reality kickstarter, Oculus , Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t buy it first.