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Online video viewing is becoming an ever more important way for companies to deliver marketing messages. The important millennial demographic in particular has been shown statistically and anecdotally to spend a significant amount of time watching videos online. And it is therefore possible to achieve significant amounts of engagement with this useful group via this method.

Viral Video Blogging

An excellent example of the way that destinations are delivering original marketing via this medium is the extreme blogging Youtube channel and website Ontheroofs. This group ventures to the tallest buildings in the world that are still under construction with one dramatic intention in mind; climb to the top of them and document the journey in an impactful video format.

This is exactly the sort of content which millennials tend to watch on YouTube, and a recent video produced by the organisation now has in excess of 3 million views. The Ontheroofs Channel as a whole has already achieved 55 million hits, and with the audience growing, there is no doubt that they will attract many millions more in the foreseeable future.

New Video Generation

Ontheroof is just one example of a new generation of video content which is attracting young people in particular to video sites such as YouTube. The biggest YouTube streamers now attract millions of viewers and billions of hits in total, with the biggest channels in the world literally generating millions of dollars a year in revenue for the people that produce the content.

The variety of content on YouTube is obviously vastly more diverse than that which any television service can possibly produce, and can satisfy the particular interest of any niche whatsoever. And this variety and specificity of content is attracting young people from all over the world to search social video sharing sites in simply enormous numbers.

It was only recently that there BBC reported on the number of young people watching Minecraft videos online. This is a very popular video game which involves constructing virtual worlds out of Lego-like bricks. Minecraft videos are incredibly popular online, and the BBC investigated the extent to which young people are engaging with platforms such as YouTube to view such material.

While everyone is familiar with this video site, it is important not to underestimate the cultural importance of this platform. Whereas many people may flippantly believe that YouTube is a gimmicky site full of stupid and inconsequential videos - and there is certainly plenty of this material available! - the reality is that people from all over the world are producing gigantic amounts of very innovative, interesting and informative content. We can quite reasonably view YouTube as a platform which is becoming as culturally significant as television, at least for a younger, millennial generation.

YouTube Binge Viewing

Binge viewing of YouTube videos is now incredibly common, and while there may be a good deal of handwringing about this process, in reality it is no more unhealthy than watching large amounts of television or movies (although obviously these are often maligned as well!). There is a particularly strong link between video games and such video streaming platforms, with the video game streaming site Twitch also becoming increasingly popular.

Again, the BBC recently produced and broadcast a radio programme about the growing popularity and cultural significance of video games, and an examination of this particular streaming site formed part of this program. The site has even been examined by the BBC's flagship Newsnight programme. The top Twitch streamers are now generating significant amounts of revenue, and Twitch is becoming a viable advertising platform, and indeed YouTube is already established as such.

Viewing Habits Evolving

Streamed content, dominated with youth-oriented material such as that produced by Ontheroofs, represents a something of a counter-culture which is separate from the traditional media tropes and platforms which have come to be dominated by television. Young people, and millennials in particular, are still interested in consuming media, but they now want to consume it on their terms, and their specific interest may have diverged significantly from what would be considered traditional viewing habits.

As this process accelerates, television is having to evolve in order to capture this audience and remained relevant. Although there will probably always be a place for television schedules, on demand services via streaming are becoming increasingly significant and popular, and the industry in general has recognised that it needs to offer something of the flexibility provided by sites such as YouTube.

There is a vast and potentially captive audience to be communicated with via such social platforms as YouTube, with literally tens of millions of millennials online at any moment, often binge viewing YouTube videos. While it is sometimes easy to view advertising via these sites as a poor investment compared to traditional methods, this is highly misguided. Increasingly, YouTube and other video broadcasting sites are becoming as important to young people as television, if not more so, and this process will only accelerate in the future.

Travel-related companies are already utilising video sharing sites in order to deliver content, but in a world in which billions of YouTube videos are being watched every day, sites such as this can increasingly offer a valid platform for advertising.

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