I’ve only just started to write a post tonight because I’ve mainly been occupied tonight with watching mini-documentaries on YouTube – in fact, I fell down something of a rabbit-hole of YouTube channels about abandoned buildings.
It seems like YouTube has cycles of videos that are the mainstay of it’s platform. From around 2009-2012, when I started watching YouTube, most of the biggest channels were gaming related (specifically Let’s Play series related.) After this, it was the era of lifestyle vloggers – challenge videos, tag videos etc. Many of the YouTube channels from that time also seem to have stalled or faded, as advertising revenue from YouTube shrank.
Even on YouTube’s Trending page, which is mainly occupied by music videos and film trailers, the other videos are news reports and docs from companies such as Vice News. And it seems that below that, there has been a growing taste for niche independent documentary-making and reporting – often funded by small numbers of enthusiasts via outlets such as Patreon and Ko-fi, as well as podcast-style sponsorships like Squarespace and Audible.
It is also notable that YouTube used to be much harsher on use of short pieces of copyrighted film footage and music – after the early 2010s, this was allegedly relaxed which allowed a rise of cultural criticism (previously limited to now defunct platforms like blip.tv).
Anyway, here are three channels I’ve watched a bunch of videos from over the past week – as well as the video I had on whilst writing this.
Bright Sun Films (interestingly enough, I spotted when linking this channel that the URL reads ‘BrightSunGaming’ – definitely a repurposed channel!)
Defunctland (This one is specifically about Theme park history. I don’t have any personal interest in theme parks, but the social history involved is fascinating. They have a great podcast on iTunes too.)
The Proper People (This channel is very specifically about urban exploration, which does mean a lot of what they are doing is trespassing. Just wanted that noted, as I know a lot of people won’t approve of their content.)