Less C-SPAN, more LOLcats: that’s the new cost-saving strategy being adopted by YouTube. The popular video-sharing site has announced sweeping policy changes that allow videos with low view totals to be deleted in favor of stronger, pet-related content.
The decision came after a surge of Puppy Bowl videos crashed YouTube in February, having overrun site’s server farm in Mountain View, Calif. Rather than spend significantly more on server space, YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar announced the site will instead promote only its cash cow content.
“We severely underestimated our users’ interest in pet videos,” Kamangar said. “Pet owners seem to have hours of free time to film and post videos that defy the old conventions of what’s entertaining or even interesting.”
Cat videos alone account for 34 percent of all monthly uploads to YouTube and have driven 79 percent of global traffic to the site in 2012 according to officials. Even in China, where access to YouTube blocked behind a firewall, more than 100 million users have risked imprisonment by subscribing to the “Mao”channel, documenting the antics of Wushi Nushu, a Siamese house kitten that struggles to catch koi fish.
To make room for web’s adorable animal stars, YouTube will be eliminating content it deems inane and too human-focused. The first wave of cuts will include: personal video logs belonging to teenagers, gadget unboxing videos and any footage shot at the annual American Library Association conference.
“If you’re given the option of watching at a sad, lonely little people or fuzzy, wuzzy wittle puppy wuppies, it’s like ‘duh, no brainer!’” said Henrietta Speller, 53, who owns the popular channel “DancingwithDogs.”
The new policy will also penalize organizations that upload long, unpopular videos categorized as “bore-a-thons.” Kamangar cited an example, comparing a 30-minute clip from the PBS documentary “Concentration Camp,” with only 270 views, to “El Cato Siesta Naptime” – video of a sleeping tabby cat in a poncho that falls off a toy horse – which garnered 270 million views.
PBS, along with video channels such as WhiteHouse.org and C-SPAN, will have their YouTube accounts temporarily suspended until they can incorporate more pets into their posts.
To comply with YouTube’s new standards, PBS has asked Charlie Rose, talk show host and Emmy award winning journalist, to co-anchor with a baby Koala.
“In all my years, I never thought I’d see the broadcast business become an actual zoo,” said Rose. “But these Google people seem to know what’s best for the viewing public, numbers don’t lie.”