We’ve all heard of YouTube. Well, what exactly is YouNow? According to the application, “YouNow is the best way to discover talented broadcasters,watch live streams and video chat live with people around the world.” On their about page, the makers say with YouNow you can 1) Broadcast Yourself: “Tap ‘Go Live’ and you’re on! Broadcast to a live audience, expand your social media following, and grow your very own, loyal fanbase!”, 2) Discover Great People: “From live DJs & musicians to YouTubers & Viners, discover talented content creators and promote your favorites to the top!”, and 3) Uncover the Power of You: “Whether you are in front of the camera or behind it, join a friendly community of people who love spending time together, and make your mark!”.
YouNow “hosts 100 million user sessions a month and 50,000 hours of live video every day” (YouNow). Among those millions of users and hours of live footage are broadcasts from Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and Refinery29. Public Relations teams from all media outlets are using this new Internet sensation to their advantage (Hackl). So, why do these news and entertainment outlets choose YouNow instead of YouTube?
Unlike YouTube, YouNow is broadcast live, allowing the audience to participate and interact with the broadcaster. “Viewers can make comments and ask performers questions, which appear in real-time alongside live videos” (Shields). Danny Shea, the editorial director of the Huffington Post, stated that they have always believed in “going where the audience is” and they’ve “been impressed with their [YouNow subscribers] level of engagement” which is why they decided to start a weekly broadcast on the new site rather than stick to their own platform (Shields). Huffington Post has over 41,000 fans and close to 600,000 views on the site where they host two weekly broadcasts.
The fact that the videos are broadcast live also forces the brands to be transparent, which the viewers love (Moses). Refinery29 hosts a broadcast once or twice a week where the staff talks about anything from politics to fashion to food. The chief content officer, Emmerich, believes that “the realness comes with that raw and unfinished look” (Moses). The transparency of the broadcasts drives the viewers to watch them and makes it feel like a one-on-one broadcast, not a one-to-many broadcast (Shields).
People Magazine even utilized YouNow during the Oscars to reach a younger fan-based audience. “It’s a younger platform, and the engagement is extraordinary. They told us there was a 43 percent engagement rate. That’s high for any platform,” said J.J. Miller, the executive producer of video for People (Moses).
Media is choosing to embrace YouNow because of the younger fan-base and the fact that it’s easy to engage and interact with your audience. Users of the new Internet phenomena must be ready to be transparent, be put in uncomfortable situations and have a sense of humor, because anything could come their way.