So you want to upload videos on YouTube and you're ready to start a channel. You go to the settings, you give your channel a name, and then there's this thing called Channel Type. You click on it and there's these six options that come up. How do you know which one is right for you? Well, chances are if you're content is going to be specific, you'll have no problem choosing. But maybe your content doesn't quite fit into one specific category. How do you know which one to choose? Does it even matter? Well, YouTube hasn't quite ironed this out to be as useful as it could be, but it's good to know what type of channel you want to be associated with, for reasons other than the obvious.
When creating a channel on YouTube, you get several options under "Channel Type." Those types are: YouTuber, Director, Musician, Comedian, Guru, and Reporter. These all seem self-explanatory, but they all have their own options. Perhaps you want to do comedy, but have the Director Type. And if your comedy isn't original content, you won't be able to use the Comedian Type, because that is for original content only.
YouTuber Channels are for Everyday Life (And Probably Cat Videos)
YouTuber is for the general account, the person who is going to upload personal videos and not looking for an audience. You want people you know to be able to see your videos, but you're not looking for fame and fortune. This is the default channel, and you don't get the options you get with the other specific channels. You won't show up as a specific channel, either. In the channels tab, YouTube only lists the other types. This is also where you're showing movie clips and stuff you didn't create.
Director Channels are for Serious YouTubing, Lengthier Videos
The Director channel is for those who would like to post videos longer than the usual 10-minute limit, and you can even price your videos, as long as the content you are putting out there is original. The funny thing about this is, Machinima's channel has the most subscriptions, a genre which we have discussed blurs the line between original and borrowed/stolen content by taking video game footage and creating new movies with overdubbed dialogue:
This channel is for basic freedom to do whatever you want with them, as long as its original. They don't represent any particular genre. Second behind Machinima's channel in overall subscribers is Shane Dawson, who is one of the many (annoying) talking heads on YouTube bringing his brand of "comedy" to the web.
Musician YouTube Channel Type is for Aspiring, Original Musicians
Once again, we're talking about original content here. This is not for your uploading of all the videos of Neil Diamond shows you've been to in the past week, or all of those Paula Abdul videos you saved on VHS back in 1990. This is if you are a musician trying to sell your own work. The Musician type of channel allows you to give more information about yourself and even allows you to post concert dates for your shows.
The number one subscribed channel in the Musician type is Dave Days, but the top number of views go to the VEVO-branded musicians like Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry. Those are also the most viewed videos on YouTube, period. Bieber's is getting close to 2 billion views. Here's a video from Nice Peter, one of the top subscribed Musician types:
You notice this could very well be considered a Comedian Type. It's comedy, but here Nice Peter wants to be considered a musician first.
The Comedian Channel Type is Like the Musician, Only for Comedy
Just like the Musician Type, original content, with the ability to describe yourself in detail and offer concert dates. It's not for all the Robin Williams specials off cable you recorded.
Most of the comedians that choose this type are the talking heads that dominate the YouTube scene. The top comedian is Ray William Johnson, who is best known for his viral video breakdown show. He also happens to have the top subscribed channel on all of YouTube, with over 4.5 million. Here's one of his shows:
YouTube Guru Channel Types are for How-To Video Shows
Maybe you'd like to be helpful. You know all there is to know about cooking, and you want to share your secrets. In that case, the Guru Type of channel is for you. Interestingly enough, the Guru channel that has the most subscribers is FPSRussia, which is an over-the-top guns and ammo site. There are also a lot of sites dedicated to hacking and pranks, and plenty of beauty tips. For instance, here's makeup and beauty expert Michelle Phan, who owns the second-most subscribers in this genre:
Reporter Channels are for News, and not Just Hard-Hitting News
You're a journalist. You have access to breaking stories and events. Chances are, you're already a professional in the field. But this channel isn't just for big news events. Sports and entertainment can also be represented. The most-viewed Reporter Type of channel is the Associated Press, which has nearly a billion views in its run on YouTube. Here's another highly-viewed program for medical news, Nucleus Medical Media:
Special Request Only: Non-Profit, Partners, Sponsors, and Politicians Channels
There are a few other channels, but you can only get them by special request. Non-Profit is pretty self-explanatory. You want to help or educate people, and you are not looking for your channel to earn revenue through views. The top non-profit is Sesame Street's channel:
Partners are usually groups of people who all upload content onto the same channel. The largest one is VEVO, the music channel that plays all the latest videos from popular artists. They also have a lot of "making ofs" and "behind the scenes." Here's Katy Perry's "Making of Last Friday Night:"
Sponsors are for advertisers who want to show their latest commercials. There aren't many here right now, but you have the likes of Old Spice, which gets a lot of views with their popular "Old Spice Man" commercials. Then you have Sony, which has all the latest trailers for their movies. Here's The Amazing Spider-Man:
There's only one big Politician Type on YouTube, and that's Barack Obama's channel. You get videos like this:
I'm sure during the election next year, we'll get a bunch of these.
Does Choosing the Right YouTube Channel Type Matter?
So is having the absolute perfect channel essential? Well, right now, it doesn't appear all that major. Genres in YouTube aren't in plain sight, you usually have to click on the ranking information within one channel to find all the other channels and genres. At some point, I suppose being a part of a certain channel will help you in search. Right now, it seems like these channels are just here to give you some personalization for your original content, to separate them from all the random videos on the site. This is an area that YouTube probably needs to improve in the future, so people can find different genres more easily.