If a YouTube Channel is a Channel, Why Can’t We Select Specific Shows?

Poor Internet Television Station Revision3. It’s a case study of an increasing delimma faced by studios/networks moving to YouTube (reluctantly of course). They can’t invite viewers to subscribe to one particular show alone (unless the devide the shows into individual channels). So networks like Revision3 have three choices:

  1. Place all its shows up on a indivudal YouTube channels and gain little from the collective.
  2. Dump random stuff on YouTube and try desperately to get viewers to leave YouTube and visit Revision3.com to RSS or view specific shows (bad idea).
  3. Put all of its shows on one channel (youtube.com/revision3) and make the channel banner clicks open a subscribe window (instead of a redirect to the Revision3 website as I might have expected.

I probably would have done the same thing (except I’d have left my banner pointing to the website because most people on YouTube can find the subscribe button on their own).

But here’s the problem. What if I don’t care about Wine Library TV but love Internet Superstar (because I happen to be taping a show today)? I have to watch my subscriptions get bloated with shows that don’t interest me.

Solution? YouTube has to allow people to segment a single channel or create ways that a series of shows can live on individual channels without losing the power of the sum of its parts. I’ve got people that never want to see my family, but want to see me acting like an idiot in public. I have some people that want a video daily, and others that want not to be bothered until I create something epic. Why shouldn’t they be able to subscribe to ALL or 5-15 categories individually (public pranks, vlogs, sketches, family videos).

This is important to someone like me that likes variety, but even more important to a collective like Revision3, ForYourImagination or Next New Network. Note that these companies almost shouldn’t be compared because their strategies are so different. Revision3 shows are being shot, not coincidentally, for the precise time a 30-minute show would air sans commercials (21 minutes).

19 Replies to “If a YouTube Channel is a Channel, Why Can’t We Select Specific Shows?”

  1. Hey Nalts,

    Correct me if I’m wrong (and it won’t offend me – I’m usually wrong, or at least not right, according to my wife), but isn’t this feature already available?

    When you create playlists on your channel, viewers can subscribe to these. So if I rhetorically created a “comedy” playlist, and a “tutorials” playlist, the people who only want my tutorials can click the subscribe button on that playlist, and the same for those who desire my comic wit.

    I don’t think these count towards your total number of official subscribers, but you’ve already got a bajillion subs. Do you really need more? 😀

  2. interesting idea! but I noticed the revision3 banner redirects all over the place (their websites, their show sites, subscribe, etc — how’d they do that?). Also, not all their shows are 22 min — EpicFu for example is 5 minutes or so.

  3. Can we RSS playlists? I have a playlist of videos just about my homeless attorney, another on my momma, a new one for my sister, one for my great train adventure to Hollywood, a poetry playlist, a music playlist, etc, etc.

    Tell me I haven’t been wasting my time organizing my videos by subject matter!

  4. mdj,

    I think there’s a way to do it through YouTube itself, but if you go to http://www.referd.info/ and scroll down to where it says “GET RSS FEED BY PLAYLIST” you can enter the playlist number (for example, one of mine is 1CF89D26706BDC6A), and hit submit. It’ll generate an RSS feed you can plug into your favorite RSS software.

  5. I completely agree. This is a feature that I hope will come around at some point. I have two very different shows (a children’s cartoon, and a video game comedy series), one of which is starting to become quite popular. I want to produce the cartoon again one day, but I am afraid that though many of y subscribers might appreciate it, I might alienate a large portion of my subscriber base.

  6. I could not agree with you more, Nalts. I subscribe to C-Spot just for the “Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show” and I don’t want my subscription list filling up with all of their other stuff. Same thing with webserials.com. I like to watch their “Cataclysmo” show, but not their other stuff. Of course, sometimes YouTube doesn’t show me all of my subscriptions on my front page, but that’s another story.

  7. Fraser,

    I think most YouTubers are more resiliant than you give them credit for. For example, check out the “You Suck at Photoshop” video series on MyDamnChannel. The main character (and it is a character-the series actually contains a very amusing ficticious plot line) does nothing but insult his viewers throughout the videos, and they get tens of thousands of views. Of course, they do it so it’s hilarious, but still, my point is, if you make good content, I don’t think you’re going to drive away viewers by doing different projects. And like I said above, there’s always the playlist option.


  8. @somecallmejim

    Well, aside from the convince for viewers to filter the content from a single creator, there is also the branding issue.

    For instance my channel currently touts the series that we are actively producing:


    However, I have about 3 more shows in the barracks (all very different concepts/genres) that I will be producing in the next year or so. I am at odds with myself on how I will go forward with my brand.

    Best case scenario, I would like to be able to tie multiple “shows” to my “channel.” I understand what you mean with playlists, but I would really like each show to have its own branding and community, but still be able to demonstrate that it is being produced by the same people and cross-promote to viewers easily and effectively.

  9. Guns? Duct Tape? Politicians? Content that’s just so darn compelling they can’t help but subscribe?

    I don’t know. One of those options has to work. I’m going with “guns” and we’ll see how it goes.

  10. Hi, Nalts, great post! We have talked about these issues many times at Next New Networks, and actually made the suggestion to many top people at YouTube. They know it’s an issue and are working on ways to help.

    In the meantime, we don’t publicize this well, but all of our networks have show-specific feeds from our websites, so you can just subscribe to any one show that you like. For instance, here is a link to a “Nite Fite” feed that will only get you Nite Fite episodes, as opposed to all of Channel Frederator:


  11. Yeah YouTube channel can use some functionality redesign; like letting people to pick a number of videos and watch it as a show

    Thanks for the reflection.


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