YouTube making virtual reality push

25 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

At VidCon YouTube CEO Shows Love For Its Stars, While They Gaze At Other Possibilities.

Google’s YouTube, looking to squeeze new coin from the millions of free videos on the service, aims to launch a subscription-based service later in 2015 that will strip out all ads. When 29-year-old YouTube star Meghan Tonjes launched a podcast with crowd-funding site Patreon a year ago, it was one of dozens of things the singer-songwriter was doing to grind out a living online.ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — YouTube says it’s making a further push into virtual reality, promising to add 3-D support for videos that play back in its 360-degree format.YouTube Chief Executive Susan Wojcicki unveiled a series of product announcements, including a mobile redesign for the platform, during her keynote speech at VidCon on Thursday.There may be no better way to get a look at the future of media that to spend a few days enveloped and overwhelmed by the new immersive world of YouTubers and their fans.

Videos projected over two large screens, first showing the power of the connections YouTubers make with their audiences and then showing YouTube stars’ journey from upstarts to mega stars. The longtime executive, who previously headed advertising and commerce at Google, received several rounds of applause as she addressed a packed Anaheim Convention Center conference hall at VidCon for the second year in a row. Along with posting performance videos on YouTube, touring, selling songs on iTunes and ”vlogging” (video blogging), Tonjes sits down twice a week with her roommate in Los Angeles to talk about ”Adventures in Roommating.” Nearly 100 online patrons donate a total of close to $700 per podcast, just to listen and maybe get a shout-out. ”If YouTube disappeared tomorrow, I want to know that I can go play shows, do podcasts and live without being dependent on one site or one app,” she says.

Support for 3D means wearers of headsets like Oculus VR Inc’s Rift, Samsung Electronics Co’s Gear VR or Google Cardboard can see images in three dimensions as they swivel around to change their view. In between, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki brought bags full of upbeat news, promises of new digital toys for YouTubers to play with, a new kind of trophy called the “Diamond View Button” for those 35 channels or so that have crossed the 10 million subscriber mark. This spring, YouTube informed content partners that they must get on board — otherwise, their channels will be made private and won’t be eligible for ad-revenue sharing. With YouTube taking about a 45 percent cut of ad revenue from videos posted on the site, YouTubers and companies that manage them are hunting for new ways to make money from the audiences they’ve built on the platform.

YouTube also said it would provide special camera rigs that support the format at its studios around the world, including at two locations opening next year in Toronto, Canada, and Mumbai, India. And Wojcicki was as clear as she could possibly be about what these Partners mean to the company. “YouTube succeeds only if you, our creators, succeed,” she said. “You’re the reason that we’re all here today. YouTube is currently looking to launch the subscription-video service in late Q3 or early Q4 but may end up pushing back the launch to early 2016, according to sources. A recent Bank of America report valued YouTube at more than $70 billion. “Ten years ago, YouTube started with a simple idea: ‘Broadcast yourself,'” Wojcicki said. “We believed that anyone should be able to create content that everyone in the world could watch.

Robert Kyncl, head of content and business operations at YouTube, welcomes the challenges to its online dominance, even if other platforms are enticing creators with better cuts of revenue. Instead, she focused on enhancements to YouTube’s mobile apps, which include support for full-screen vertical video, and touted production tools at YouTube Spaces for shooting 360-degree and 3D video. Facebook announced this month that in the fall it would start sharing ad revenue with a select few creators like the NBA, Fox Sports and Funny or Die. Gruszka is among the 21,000 people attending VidCon, an annual three-day convention that kicked off Thursday for online video fans, content creators and industry executives. In a separate interview with the Wall Street Journal, she insisted the video-subscription service was making progress despite some holdouts. “There are some partners outstanding,” Wojcicki acknowledged, “and we’re still in the process of working through that with them.” She added that YouTube has secured agreements with content partners representing more than 90% of watch time.

Video-game streaming service Twitch already shares subscription revenue from followers with top gamers, and a site called YouNow allows online fans to give tips to talent with coins bought with real money in live stream forums. All of you have invested in building your channels, building your businesses, listening viewer feedback, pored over your analytics and, as a result, made great content and built strong communities.” Iove you.” Hugs and selfies commenced during the short ride, and moment’s later – Miranda stepped off the elevator with her handler (who I strongly suspect was her dad). Vessel, a video service launched in January by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, offers creators 15 percentage points more ad revenue share than YouTube, as well as 60 percent of the $3 per month fee from subscribers who want days-early access to videos before they show up elsewhere.

Thursday, the convention was screaming teenagers and young adults with cell phones pulled out, taking videos of performers on the concert stage, YouTube personalities or themselves. Kilar says paying creators more helps them make higher-quality videos, the same way subscription revenues help premium pay channels like HBO finance better TV shows. The line between the famous and the fans is blurry – and often the fan’s are at Vidcon in part to learn how they can catapult their nascent YouTube dreams into the juggernaut that only YouTube can provide that truly changes the lives of hardworking young makers who can connect with the lens and turn viewers into fans. Everything from ”unboxing” videos of new gadgets and how-to videos that show off teeth-whitening products are providing YouTubers a solid revenue stream. The Smosh comedy duo began posting on YouTube in 2005 and now has 20 million subscribers and a Lionsgate film, “Smosh: The Movie,” set for release this week.

FameBit, a Santa Monica startup, launched a marketplace last year where creators bid on the right to make brand-sponsored videos, and deals close for, on average, $500 per video, says Agnes Kozera, the company’s co-founder and chief operating officer. YouTube has a poor track record of making consumers part with their money: a pay-channel initiative failed to take off two years ago, and its streaming movie-rental service hasn’t registered much action apart from Sony’s “The Interview.” No content in the pay service will be available exclusively. Also launching this week is an app called Social Bluebook, which benchmarks how much creators should ask for such digital promos, including on platforms like Instagram and Twitter. But that doesn’t stop the brothers from being genuinely amazied by just have fast their 8 year old event has turned into a 21,000 gathering of teens – capturing the fast growing web-celebrity trend like lightning in a bottle.

But while some speculated that YouTube’s SVOD would be akin to Netflix, with a bucket of premium video behind a paywall, the service actually is more like Spotify Premium: same lineup of stuff, just without the ads. That model has worked for Spotify and others, but it’s not clear it will work as effectively for video (especially given that many YouTube ads can be skipped after a few seconds). Two movies starring YouTube sensations are debuting around VidCon, including ”SMOSH: The Movie,” featuring comedy duo Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, and ”The Chosen,” a horror flick featuring vlogger Kian Lawley.

Different audiences await, for instance, on Facebook, says Don Wilcox, VP digital marketing and services at PBS. “It just means a bigger audience,” Wilcox says. “It’s not necessarily cannibalistic, because it’s not all the same people on the same platforms. The Greens said they formed Vidcon, because “industries have conferences somebody was going to do it, so why not us?” This year’s Vidcon has a growing number of companies that would like a piece of the YouTube creator buzz. His YouTube channel boasts 531,000 subscribers, and videos have garnered 96 million views. “There are a lot of kids out there who don’t have a family or come from a single-parent family, and they want to see wholesome family entertainment,” Butler said. They won’t be the first feature films starring YouTubers and they won’t be the last, says Barry Blumberg, chief content officer for SMOSH backer Defy Media.

He declined to disclose how much he makes, only that “it’s enough to survive and make this my full-time job.” Butler has a 300-acre ranch in Idaho, which proceeds from YouTube has helped him buy, he said. YouTube will take a 45% cut of subscription revenue (as it does on advertising), with the rest divvied up to partners based on aggregate subscriber viewing time. YouTube personality Kayla Lashae, 22, who has made a living for three years with videos about trying out bags and testing things like electric toothbrushes, says it’s a good idea to branch out with the co-hosting gig.

It’s not just smile and say something as people think.” “I like acting,” Russett says, telling me she just filmed a small part in the upcoming movie “Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates” starring Adam DeVine, Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza. The number of people watching YouTube per day is up 40% year over year since March 2014 “We’ve gone beyond an era of passive entertainment into a renaissance of immersive entertainment.

And earlier this month, German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 merged its Studio71 with Collective Digital Studio, a Los Angeles-based network behind such brands as Epic Meal Time, Video Game High School and Just Kidding News. Where the traditional rules of television—those 22-minute episodes or strict —are being rewritten in favor of new kinds of entertainment, interesting new faces and above all, engagement and community” said Wojcicki.

YouTube’s take-it-or-leave-it attitude has rankled partners, and that may push them to broaden distribution on other platforms like Facebook. “Many content providers are frustrated by the introduction of new business terms from YouTube, which essentially say you can’t monetize your content on our site anymore if you don’t agree to our new subscription terms,” said a senior exec at one large MCN. “Feels like a strong-arm tactic.” YouTube positions the SVOD service as providing creators a revenue stream that will supplement what they earn from advertising — but nobody knows if that will result in a sizable chunk of change. Part of the rationale is to take formats that have worked in Germany, like the head-to-head video game challenge show, ”Last Man Standing,” and transport them to different markets with local talent, says CDS CEO Reza Izad. The merger will also help build up advertising sales forces in countries where consumers are watching videos that don’t have ads sold against them. ”You want to grow (ad rates)? YouTube originally approached networks to see if they’d be interested in providing full-length episodes of TV shows — the thinking being that an ad-free environment would be a big draw. That’s because YouTube is offering the same rev-share terms as on the ad-supported side, and networks can better monetize their shows on their own outlets or established SVOD platforms like Netflix or Hulu (whereas YouTube’s subscription service is unproven).

There are plenty of genres that work in other markets, like sports, dance, and fashion, says Peter Csathy, CEO of venture capital firm Manatt Digital Media Ventures. ”Those things are not language dependent and they’re naturals for international reach,” he says. In fact, the YouTube video-subscription service may have the effect of prompting TV networks and media companies to share less content — which today is nearly entirely promotional, in the form of short clips — because they may have contracts with other distributors specifying exclusivity in the SVOD space. But consider this: YouTube Music Key, the music-streaming service Google launched late last year in beta, is regularly priced at $9.99 per month (with a $7.99 intro price). It’s questionable whether the other features promised for the service — offline video viewing and playback on mobile devices while other apps are in use — will be enough for users to open their wallets. The Internet colossus touted YouTube’s momentum in reporting Q2 earnings last week, claiming the top 100 advertisers on average spent 60% more year-over-year, and that YouTube mobile viewing alone attracts more U.S. viewers 18-49 than any single cable network.

That means, for the most part, that users have to search for videos or discover them via algorithm-based suggestions (not human curation). “YouTube is a hard place to find the thing I don’t know I want,” said an exec at another large content partner. “In order to be a subscription service, you have to understand content.” That said, YouTube could be accelerating efforts to get the right content in front of the right audience: This week it announced Susanne Daniels, MTV’s former president of programming, as head of original content development.

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