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Why Don’t Networks Use YouTube Like a Farm Team?

It’s no secret that TV networks are searching for ways to find and keep loyal audiences. It’s why 10% of ad inventory still goes to drive tune-in. It’s why show re-boots from the 80s and 90s are in high supply. And it’s why smart TV marketers are spending so much time on offering social exclusives: driving brand affinity is more critical than ever.

Smart networks like TNT, TBS, ESPN and others get this and meet the consumers where they are: everywhere. But still so many networks start with a show and then develop IP. But there isn’t much of that when you run it backwards.

This got me thinking while power snacking Peter Kafka’s recent session with YouTuber Marques Brownlee, aka MKBHD, for a Recode Media podcast.

Looking at data from social video analytics Tubular Labs, the vitals speak loudly for why Brownlee owns it online.

Brownlee has more than 10 million followers across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. According to Tubular Labs, he surpassed 6 million YouTube subscribers in March. Further, in Q1 2018, Brownlee has hovered around 20 million monthly video views on YouTube. 

As Brownlee noted in his Recode podcast discussion with Kafka, he designs his content to cater toward two main audiences: 1) hard core tech geeks; and 2) general public inquiring about tech reviews via search. There’s plenty of evidence this approach is working. 

Breaking down YouTube’s audience data a bit further, Tubular Labs reports Brownlee’s sweet spot is with men 18-34 years old (61.3% of his total audience). You would think Brownlee might lose audience beyond 34 years old, but his next strongest audience is in fact 35-44 year old men (10.8%). Brownlee enjoys mainstream influencer appeal, sharing an overlapping audience with The Verge, whose audience is 14x more likely to watch Brownlee’s show than the average person.

Put another way- Brownless is a bullseye for what used to be TV audiences and certainly is the type that networks can monetize.

What are they waiting for?