YouTube wants to be a lot more than just a video file-sharing site. Recently, the launch of a subscription component dubbed YouTube Red gave everyone a glimpse of where YouTube would like to go in the future. Now, YouTube has chosen to move forward with another new service. “Reels” will be YouTube’s answer to “Stories,” a format originally developed by Snapchat and later adopted by messengers and social media sites.
Reels will allow creators to produce very short videos. The length of the videos run about 30 seconds each. Such mini-videos become available through Reels’ subscription-based system. While it is possible to produce 30-second videos via a general YouTube account, shorter videos may be lost in the sea of lengthier videos. Developing a special place for shorter videos does something more than provide creators with a venue to post such short productions. Reels intends to make it possible for creators to craft more targeted and personal short videos for a specific audience.
The news hints at something more than expanded video offerings through YouTube. Indications point to greater offering via streaming services both pay and free. Traditional cable and broadcast channels may become things of the past because, honestly, a significant number of viewers seem to only be interested in viewing programming on an on-demand basis.
Technology changes people’s entertainment habits. In the old days of VHF and UHF and early pay television, viewers had to wait until their preferred programming appeared at a certain time. Slowly, as time moved on, things changed. The arrival of streaming services and online programming sets a course for audiences only watching what they want when they want. Those running YouTube now want to be part of that upcoming bandwagon, a bandwagon reflecting the end of how traditional viewing works.
The concept of Reels takes things even further. The personalized approach to streaming content allows for a different creator/audience relationship. The future does look different as far as entertainment programming is headed.