What my latest video taught me about YouTube in South Africa

My wife always tells me that people don’t want to hear about how bad the world is. So I started my YouTube channel to try and have a positive impact in a world that needs credible, positive energy. I do the research that you don’t have the time to, diving deep into topics and unearthing practical possible solutions. I enjoy it, but it seems to be a bit boring for the casual consumer. I’m still sticking to it, though, because I enjoy it.

Outside of my own echochamber is a big wide world that votes with its eyeballs. My content doesn’t get a lot of eyeballs, but it’s a work in progress. Cast an eye around the trending tab on South African YouTube does, however, reveal some interesting anecdotal facts. Outside of the large media channels (basically public broadcast TV on the internet) the top trending content creator is a hard right-leaning gentleman named Willem Petzer. Please do not seek him out and give him any support because he represents all that is wrong with the white nationalist ideas about this country.

But I digress.

My latest video is a rant about what I think is wrong with Springbok rugby. I limited it to the Springboks (South Africa’s senior men’s national rugby team) because the research into the solving the broader challenges facing South African rugby is an on-going project. There’s precious little citing of sources and it’s pretty much just me calling it the way I see it.

The feedback has been good. I thought I was going to be roasted and told how wrong I was. That was actually the point, to get a rise out of our passionate rugby-watching community. But the biggest response was apathy. I am evolving my production into something that work a bit better in a click-driven world, but that won’t fight the lack of engagement from the majority of South Africans.

My homie Grant Hinds has a massive (by South African standards) YouTube channel and makes a killing commercially. He, however, rarely gets half of his subscribers to watch his content. He has the broadcast knowledge, high production value and exposure to some of the biggest creators on the platform, but still gets beaten in average views by a hate-spewing white nationalist whose videos are quite far from being called “slick” or “crispy.”

I see this difference as being one creator leaning into the insecurities of a particular group of people versus another who is trying to make wholesome content for a wide audience.

So which path should I follow? Neither. The trick is, as always, consistency. So in 2019 the channel will be going forward with weekly state-of-SA recaps and a couple of other videos thrown in. I still won’t relent and upload my content to Facebook – the largest digital media platform for South African brands – because I think it’s a cancer that will soon decrease in relevance.

My point is that the South African YouTube community (including watching public) is still maturing. Our data costs are still prohibitive to a large portion of the potential digital audience. We could, theoretically, sit out the current revolution and wait for the landscape to settle before committing our rands to future innovations that more readily meet consumption preferences.

I’ll keep chugging. Like, subscribe and share if you enjoy what I’m doing.

Follow me, it will be alright

1 comment on “What my latest video taught me about YouTube in South Africa

  1. Sharrell

    I am not much of a rugby fan except when Springboks play world cup.
    But you certainly make some great comments here. I am wiser now for listening to your video. Great research you did.
    I like the way you make it simple for guys like me.

    Reply

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