Is online video really free?

A cell phone with a youtube play button featured

Free video platforms, namely YouTube, changed the world forever. Each day, creators upload hundreds of hours of infinite wisdom, political analysis, personal moments, global news, and cat videos to digital video platforms like TikTok, Vimeo, Instagram, Facebook, Twitch. And they cost us nothing to watch.

Well…not exactly.

Digital Video Pays for Itself

Advertising pays for these platforms to stay up and running. The content creator economy is growing thanks to corporate sponsorships. And the advertisements that play before and around online videos allow platforms like YouTube to be openly accessible.

The videos we watch online are not free—instead of money, these platforms are collecting our data.

As free online video gained popularity on multiple platforms, advertisers saw an opportunity to take advantage of YouTube’s existing millions of viewers. Around 2009, the site started allowing ads in seven different formats. And now that creators can monetize their content, we see even more ads each day.

Navigating Through the Online Video Noise

Advertisers were smart to capitalize on the popularity and power of video. Video monetization on free platforms has opened up many doors for both creators and advertisers. And in recent years, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and many other social media platforms are putting video first—they know it’s where the money is.

Unfortunately, this means that the online video market has become saturated. It’s incredibly difficult for video to cut through all the noise. And for it to make the impact it was intended to have. That’s where an expert video production agency and some creative video strategy can make or break your video’s success.

With each new client project, Tribe Pictures faces the task of creating a successful video. There are many ways to define a video’s success. At Tribe, we strive to make films that get seen by their right audiences, at the right time.

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“It’s one thing to understand the role of video in business communication, it’s another to know how to use video to solve actual business problems. Vern Oakley gets that.”


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