YouTube local bypasses TV…or maybe not


YouTube’s attempt to become a local news competitor in every market got big play Monday in the New York Times. So, we decided to check it out. Does local TV really have anything to worry about?

YouTube isn’t, of course, actually hiring any photojournalists. That would cost money. So it is partnering with local video news sources, including television stations, naturally, to generate material for its “local” news sites. According to the Times story, it has nearly 200 news providers signed up to provide content – and to receive a split of ad revenues.

200 providers isn’t a lot, when you consider the size of the United States and the number of actual local markets that exist. So, what did we find that YouTube had to offer as our “local” news?

From the RBR/TVBR office in Bradenton, FL, we found that YouTube’s idea of “local” news for the Tampa-St. Pete-Sarasota area was a bunch of clips from a single Orlando station, Hearst’s WESH-TV (NBC), and a handful of clips from what appeared to be a small local newspaper (or maybe a local website) in Madison, FL, a town outside of Tallahassee near the Georgia border.

Useful news? Not a chance. This experiment still has a long, long way to go to achieve any credibility.