Mobile Will Surpass Television: YouTube Chief

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Posted 4 years ago

YouTube has always claimed that they do not consider television a rival, nor do they intend to kill off the TV set in the corner of the room. In fact, just yesterday speaking at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, YouTube chief Robert Kyncl reiterated the social video sharing site’s position, saying: “We’re not really competing… we are not really at war at all.” However, in his speech at the conference, Kyncl also stated that smartphones will soon be the “first screen” and will surpass television as the place that people go to watch content. Not competing, eh?

YouTube has recently launched a whole range of global channels, with content being provided from some of the some of the biggest TV networks in the US, France, Germany and Britain, including US-produced “Daily Glow”, British health channel “Body Talk Daily” and German motoring channel “Motorvision”.

“From local cuisine, health and wellness and parenting to sports, music, comedy, animation and news, this new line-up of original channels will have something for everyone,” Robert Kyncl wrote in a recent blog post. “They are backed by some of the biggest producers, well-known celebrities and emerging media companies from Europe and the US.”

Although YouTube are keen to play it down, these kinds of announcements sound rather like battle lines are being drawn. Kyncl also dismissed the notion that mobile devices are “second screens”, instead claiming that they are actually the first screens, with television belonging further down the pecking order.

“This is the first screen, so when you talk about second screen, you are talking about the television,” said Kncl, using his own smartphone as an example. The YouTube chief also stated that people would eventually use their smartphones to control the television, which become the second preferred method of watching shows.

“When you’re making your selections on your phone and you’re sending them to the TV, something that is coming very soon, when that transition is seamless, this becomes the first screen,”

Robert Kyncl’s comments will be very worrying indeed for TV execs, especially as – in YouTube’s eyes – the online video site isn’t “really competing” with television. What will happen if they decide they are competing?

Also at the summit, Mr Kyncl announced that YouTube is experiencing a “massive consumer shift”, claiming that “Mobile has increased from 6% to 25% in last 18 months across the whole of YouTube.”

With over $150 million dollars of investment in to the new channels and a message from Kyncl that YouTube will eventually charge for content, the future looks very much mobile.

– Anthony Carter

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