Aishwarya Ramesh

The great Netflix-YouTube love story

Content creators are promoting Netflix content with different video properties on its YouTube channel. A deep dive into the OTT platform's YouTube play.

A consumer in any part of India today is spoilt for choice when it comes to streaming video content. A viewer can choose to watch a documentary on Netflix or consume content created by independent creators on YouTube.

The two platforms complement and compete with each other in different ways. Netflix's mobile plan competes with content on YouTube. But Netflix is leveraging YouTube's audience and platform to promote the content that it has behind paywall on its OTT platform.

The difference between YouTube and Netflix's platform is ultimately this. With Netflix, a user can't access any content without a basic subscription. YouTube works with an ad-based revenue model - in which paying for a subscription makes the ads go away. Ads are also how independent content creators earn money - creators get paid when an ad plays before their videos.

Netflix’s YouTube channel is home to a variety of content. Ranging from movie clips and trailers, music videos, reaction videos to ‘top 5’ style content pieces.

Here’s some examples of work they’ve done with YouTube content creators and influencers.

Netflix also collaborated with Aurangabad based musician Yashraj Mukhate (of 'Rasode main kaun tha' fame) for a 'Indian Matchmaking' themed remix.

The content also includes IPs like its food show 'Menu Please', movie review show 'Behensplaining' and 'Decode with @Dhruv Rathee' and 'Tanmay Bhat Reacts'.

Netflix’s AOR Glitch has chosen this approach to content marketing because it finds that it’s a better way to connect with and appeal to its target audience. These days, most brands are taking an editorial first approach, rather than a brand-first approach, to build relatability, approachability and, ultimately, brand trust.

Diving deep into the cross platform content strategy

Axon Alex, managing partner at Jack In The Box Worldwide (a Mumbai-based digital agency), says that shows aren’t just watched, they’re discussed. The content creators are, in essence, the entertaining friend who took up the spotlight in the discussion.

"Netflix is pretty much relying on the water coolers in 2020 - YouTube and the people who dominate the conversation around that water cooler - creators."

When asked what's in it for the content creators, Alex tells us that they lend their voice without compromising their style, and get paid for it.

"People look to fulfil different content needs on the two platforms. Netflix promoting their shows using content creators isn’t drawing attention away, but rather looking for attention from the significant chunk of followers that these creators enjoy."

Axon Alex
Axon Alex

Commenting on the changing nature of video content consumption on smartphones, Alex adds that phones have enabled people to craft their own web of content that they can switch between easily.

"This web of content is crafted by the user and the platform algorithm to serve different sides of their interest. For example, F1 as a sport exists as 20 races that are telecasted live on Hotstar. Netflix hosts a summarised documentary of the season on the show - Drive to Survive. They also published a series of humorous meme videos by individual creators, and included in-depth technical analysis by other creators," he says.

Rima Mukherjee, head, social media and digital analytics, Brave New World Communications, says that YouTube allows Netflix, a premium paid subscription service, to reach a wider range of audience both to showcase its content and convert them into subscribers.

"While earlier, it (Netflix) was using compilations of its content as ads to create interest, adding content creators allows it to add a more local/popular perspective to the content, which can be complementary to the show. For example, Masaba Masaba’s content allowed people to see that the show could be family friendly, while Anurag Kashyap’s 'Unchoke' created an intrigue for the film that added to the regular ads, given it was contextual, relevant and interesting."

As far as content creators are concerned, she points out that most of them are looking at building a career that allows them to grow as musicians, actors, dancers, performers, etc.

"For content creators, the rising number of followers helps them get fame and fortune. But they aren’t always creating avenues for them to do different things. It has to be understood that content creators and Netflix are not competitors, but part of the same ecosystem. While content creators are creating content about Netflix shows, they gain the credibility of a big name association as a proof of their audience relevance."