YouTube is losing some of its luster, at least according to Nerdist Industries co-founder Chris Hardwick.
On Saturday, the stand-up comedian and TV personality told a heavily attended panel at Comic-Con in San Diego that his multimedia entertainment company will no longer put its videos on YouTube first, instead directing fans to its own Nerdist.com site. The reason, he said, is that people often come to YouTube for a single video, and then leave.
(Nerdist later said this was not intended to be a business announcement, and e-mailed a statement on the topic — see below).
Google’s video site is not a place where people “hang out,” Hardwick said. He also got an appreciative hoot from the crowd after dissing YouTube’s commenters as “toxic.”
“YouTube is a bunch of 13-year-olds who are like, ‘Look at me, I am unattended!'” he joked. “The second comment is always ‘FIRST,’ because they never make it.”
Nerdist boasts nearly one million subscribers on YouTube.
By pushing viewers to Nerdist’s own site, which hosts audio podcasts and daily news, as well as videos, it’s matching the strategy of fellow nerdy destination Rooster Teeth, a popular online comedy and gaming media network. Rooster Teeth regularly puts videos on its website a few hours ahead of uploading them to YouTube, and sells paid subscriptions that provide access to exclusive content.
Hardwick also noted, however, that he sees potential in old media. Nerdist, which was acquired in 2012 by Legendary Entertainment, is developing a TV series for AMC based on its online video series “All-Star Celebrity Bowling,” as well as a second new series with Comedy Central.
Hardwick added that he would like to see a TV version of “Nerdist News,” hosted by Jessica Chobot. The hypothetical news show would fit, he said, on BBC America, which in 2013 ran 11 episodes of a 45-minute “The Nerdist” TV show.
Update 7/28/14: A Nerdist Industries spokesperson responded to this article with the following statement:
Chris Hardwick is both Nerdist’s CEO and a standup comedian. His comments about our stance on YouTube were intended to be comedy rather than a reflection of our business strategy with respect to YouTube.
YouTube continues to be a tremendous partner for Nerdist, and while we will premiere much of our upcoming content on Nerdist.com, YouTube will remain a home for us well into the future. We are part of the YouTube community and we have no intention to turn away from our fellow creators, subscribers, and the 1-billion users that come to visit each month. Some upcoming content will even live exclusively on YouTube, as the personal touch that comes from being a vibrant, video-facing social media platform allows us to connect with fans in ways that simply aren’t available anywhere else. YouTube.com/Nerdist is here to stay, regardless of who shows up first and how many capital letters they use to tell us about it.