I’m not too crazy about it, but it’s the natural transition if Youtube wants to start being a “TV Channel”. It sets them up better for subscriptions and paid programming - which seems to help only the top 1% of channels and hurts the long-tail and niche communities. But who knows, maybe it all works out for everyone.
I’m with Hank Green and Kenyatta on this one - why exclude your community just because they can’t afford something?
As for my opinions on Youtube’s new channel layout:
1.) I think Google is definitely messing up a ton of things about it. Their messaging and commenting system is horrible, and the entire layout and submenus create a really bad user experience. I consider myself pretty tech savvy, but 9 times out of 10 I have to do a google search for “where is my youtube history” or something in order to find what I want. I hoped the redesign fixed that, which is does not.
2.) The One Channel layout aims to somewhat fix the previous fragmentation across mobile, desktop, and TV viewing. The pages all look the same now on different screens (I tested them). But that’s all visual, it doesn’t mean it creates a better experience, although it’s a start.
3.) My other concern is that since the website is trying to prepare for subscriptions and TV viewing, that it may hurt click-through and discovery traffic dramatically. Since a majority of Youtube’s community make their living from click throughs and pre-roll ads, that can be a severe blow to the ecosystem. Remember, the secret to Youtube and iTunes is the fact that the long-tail community is financially self-sustaining. If that goes away, then the content will dry up because no one can do it for a living anymore. And if that happens, then it will slowly fade away.