YouTube Local: Google's Ingress into Mobile Video Content

Today, Brian Stelter in The New York Times reported that Google's YouTube property is adding "News Near You." it is a feature that uses Web servers' (and presumably mobile network operators') ability to assess geographic location to tailor video newsfeeds. Over time it will evolve into a local video news station thanks to a program by Google and YouTube to enlist participation of local media outlets. Stelter makes a Bay Areas start-up called VidSF into the poster child for the new service, but YouTube started the program months ago and has solicited content from over 25,000 organizations who have posted video news in the past. To fill the inventory, it touts video news from YouTube stalwarts AP, ABC News and Reuters.

To date, according to the Times' story, 200 news organizations have joined the effort. The lure is a split of advertising revenues that appear on the site. These are not significant today, but could grow as the Google search engine serves up links to YouTube in response to to searches on its much trafficked Web site. In addition YouTube itself sports robust search capabilities. 

In many ways, YouTube is giving structure - and perhaps a financial base - to an effort that has been haphazard. Stelter reports that the organizers of News Near You were surprised to find that several newspaper outlets, including the New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and Cincinatti Enquirer, were already posting video's to YouTube. What continues to be missing is a parallel effort to enlist local businesses or brands with local outlets to tailor their promotional messages to local viewers.

In short, there is a long way to go - in terms of content aggregation, audience building and proof of utility - before News Near You becomes a truly local resource but the technology elements are there.