Case Study: Building a Successful Channel Brand
How our history channel brand Odyssey became one of our most successful
When scoping opportunities to launch new channels, Little Dot Studios’ history team is fortunate to have vast amounts of data at our disposal. This rich data helps us identify new opportunities and make informed, strategic decisions about our next areas for expansion.
Our existing channels are the best place to start! In the case of Odyssey, our ancient history channel, we identified that our larger, more generalist channel (Timeline – World History Documentaries) saw especially strong viewing on anything and everything related to the ancient world. Whether new releases or documentaries from the archive, ancient history in particular, seemed to be a subgenre of historical interest that was a bit of a sweet spot: a topic niche enough to have a distinct and passionate fanbase, but broad enough to have the mass appeal required to justify a dedicated channel. Combine this with (and this bit is crucial) enough potentially licensable content to be confident that we could launch a dedicated channel and not be concerned about sustaining the required volume of uploads.
Next up is thinking about naming, branding and liaising with our acquisitions team on upcoming content deals and potential titles or themes of content we might look to acquire.
Naming a channel can be tricky – any brand name has to be a) descriptive or evocative enough that audiences can understand the proposition and build affinity for the brand, b) suitable for all use cases across every digital/social media platform, and c) currently available (that last part being trickier than you might think!)
We settled upon Odyssey for our ancient history channel, with branding that uses terracotta tones recognisable to anyone interested in the ancient civilisations of southern Europe, North Africa, and China. We also included iconography of ancient columns, which, while not historically accurate to all content on the channel, provides a clear visual cue as to what the channel and its content are about.
It is then time to prepare our launch content in unison with designing all other required assets including logos, thumbnail templates, social graphic templates, etc., which can take several weeks. Once we’re confident the channel has been populated correctly, it’s time to go live!
Our strategy is to support our new channels by cross-promoting, where relevant, on our larger channels. Odyssey launched at the very end of January 2021. Since then, the channel has accrued over 115,000 followers and 9+million views, with an average watch time of 19:07, a remarkable number. Its growth has been fuelled by that magical combination of audience appetite feeding platform algorithm, complemented by best-practice support when using our Network to help move audiences across to the new offering. Playlists, community tab posts, end screens, Stories and Shorts can all be used within YouTube to help drive channel growth. Still, we also use other platforms where possible, particularly where we have an existing audience with substantial overlap, to promote the channel that way.
Odyssey’s growth to date ranks right up there amongst our most successful new channel brand launches, and that’s down to identifying demand, creating an attractive brand, securing great content and promoting it amongst our existing audiences with overlapping interests.