YouTube Tuesday launched a Canadian site which provides localized search features emphasizing video content produced here.
By promoting content most relevant to Canadian viewers, YouTube.ca also provides an excellent opportunity for local businesses to target Canuck eyeballs, according to online marketing experts.
“The site basically allows users to cut through the global clutter,” said Dave Stevens, general manager of Dose.ca, a Toronto-based entertainment and celebrity news site.
A former print publication that went online in 2006, Dose.ca is among the handful of initial Canadian media partners of the Sacramento, Calif-based online video provider, YouTube.
Other YouTube.ca partners include: the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., the Canadian Football League, NewsCanada, UNICEF, Sony BMG Canada, and a local YouTube user known online as thewinekone.
“With a location-specific site, Canadian viewers get immediate access to relevant videos without wading through thousands of U.S. centric clips,” said Stevens.
The strategy appears to be working well for Dose.ca.
The company’s channel on the global YouTube site was bringing in about 400 daily views. That number shot up by as much as 34 per cent since YouTube.ca went live after Monday midnight, said Stevens.
YouTube.ca also shows content uploaded by users in Canada as “top favourites” and “recommended content,” according to Chad Hurley, CEO and co-founder of YouTube.
He said in a statement that this will help Canadian content producers of become “local stars” will increasing their exposure within YouTube’s global community.
“Over time, YouTube Canada will benefit from an entirely local experience highlighting and featuring the content and functionality most desired by our Canadian users,” Hurley said.
One Canadian start-up company benefiting from the increased exposure is Picnicface, a comedy sketch troop of eight actors based in Halifax. The company is also one of YouTube’s new Canadian partners.
The company’s YouTube video titled Powerthirst has over 2.3 million hits to date.
“The YouTube hits are our bragging rights. We use the reputation to promote Picnicface,” said Andrew Bush, editor and director of the company.
Picnicface has so far booked several live sketches, has bagged an Internet sponsor for Powerthirst 2 and exploring product promotion opportunities in Canada and the U.S.
Industry insiders said they are optimistic about the potential YouTube.ca has for Canadian businesses – not just those directly partnering with the site.
“Anytime a global resource is re-released as a Canadianized version it provides a benefit for Canadian businesses and consumers,” said Carmi Levy, senior vice-president for strategic consulting for AR Communications Inc. in Toronto.
Levy cited opportunities opened up by sites such as Yahoo.ca and Google.ca.
“These sites have made it easier for local organizations to connect with local suppliers and customer,” he said.
Canadian advertisers can use YouTube.ca videos to more accurately target a Canadian audience, according to Collin Smillie, director of SlashID.com an identity management solution provider based in Toronto.
“The main benefit is that Canadian content is clustered together and this is where Canadian viewers will go,” he said.
YouTube’s video compiling and distribution infrastructure is ideal for budget conscious SMBs seeking to promote their products and services because it requires minimum capital expenditure, according to Levy and Smillie.
“The model enables SMBs to integrate video to their online corporate presence without spending on high bandwidth, expensive hardware or video equipment,” said Levy.
Companies that provide technical support distribute product catalogues, produce video demonstration or those looking into online marketing might benefit by producing YouTube videos, he said.
Smillie said some companies that previously put product information and instructional materials on DVDs are realizing dramatic savings by uploading basically the same information on YouTube videos. “They find it’s extremely cheaper because there’s minimal production cost, no distribution or delivery cost and access is immediate.”