It has long declared itself as the successor to television – and now YouTube says the battle for supremacy is over.
In a presentation to advertisers yesterday, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt says that Internet video has now displaced television watching, as it pulls in more and more viewers.Schmidt said ‘the future is now’ for YouTube, which recently passed the milestone of 1 billion unique visitors every month.But, he added with the Third World in mind, if you think that’s a large number, ‘wait until you get to 6 (billion) or 7 billion.’
Schmidt and YouTube, which billed the event as a ‘brandcast,’ shifted away from the video platform’s relationship to TV.Though the model for the evening was TV, YouTube used it to distinguish itself as something entirely different.’It’s not a replacement for something that we know,’ said Schmidt. ‘It’s a new thing that we have to think about, to program, to curate and build new platforms.’YouTube focused on its global reach, community engagement and enormous audience.
‘I thought that YouTube was like TV, but it isn’t. I was wrong,’ said Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s global head of content.’TV is one-way. YouTube talks back.’Some comparisons were inevitable. One fact highly touted was that more 18- to 34-year-olds watch YouTube than any cable network.’TV means reach,’ said Kyncl. ‘YouTube means engagement.’The presentation featured performances by Snoop Dogg and Macklemore, as well as YouTube personalities like Felicia Day.A year ago, the online channel seemed to have its sights set on reinventing television by funding the launch of more than 100 channels from well-known media brands and Hollywood personalities.
But that initiative went unmentioned at Wednesday’s presentation, held at a Lower East Side pier as part of a week of ‘NewFronts,’ (digital media’s version of the TV tradition of promoting programming and selling ads).Though companies like Yahoo and AOL have used their NewFront presentations to announce new slates of original programming, YouTube made no programming announcements.It did, though, announce a partnership with the Association of National Adverstisers’ Alliance for Family Entertainment to create more digital family content.YouTube also celebrated DreamWorks Animation’s purchase Wednesday of the teen-focused YouTube network Awesomeness TV for $33 million. DreamWorks CEO Jeffery Katzenberg appeared with Awesomeness founder and CEO Brian Robbins, the former ‘Head of the Class’ actor.
‘This is a whole new form of content, content delivery and content consumption,’ said Katzenberg.’It’s the medium of the future and the future has already arrived.’The announcement comes weeks after YouTube dropped a strong hint yet that it is planning to introduce subscriptions for video content.The plan was revealed in fragments of code in a YouTube app – and comes after claims the Google-owned site could introduce the new paid-for model as early as this spring.
The move is being viewed as an aggressive move by the world’s most popular streaming video site to compete directly with traditional television services for viewers and advertisers.The discoveries have not yet been confirmed, but the messages apparently hidden within the code appear to back up reports in January that claimed YouTube would soon begin asking users to pay to access some content. – DailyMail