Will YouTube's facelift flourish or flop?

Posted by Nanette Marcus on March 30th, 2009 at 12:00 am

YouTube will unveil a new look April 16 in an effort to further the divide between its premium content and the user-generated stuff. The tabs that currently read "videos," "channels," and "community" will be replaced with movies, music, shows, and videos.

Allow me to make a broad generalization by saying most folks don't go to YouTube for much other than UGC stuff, so it'll be interesting to see how YouTube's new presentation will impact the way the audience uses the site. YouTube isn't known for its current TV content like Hulu is. As a matter of fact, a quick trip through YouTube to find TV content yielded nothing. No TV channel or category? No wonder Hulu has captured that marketshare.

YouTube's facelift may make it more appetizing to advertisers who don't necessarily want to be seen next to unsavory videos, but will it scare away users who turn to YouTube for their homemade attempts at fame and fortune, or perhaps turn off the viewers who like the casual hodgepodge of low-budget and often low-quality video content? YouTube is where I go for my nostalgic fix of Sesame Street's Operatic Orange (don't laugh -- y'all have your cheesy content softspots, too), and I go to Hulu when my DVR botches the latest episode of The Office.

It remains to be seen how and if these video worlds will collide, and if users will embrace the change or stage a Facebook-esque revolt.

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