Photo Credit: FilmMagic for YouTube
As is tradition, YouTube gave the big keynote address at the opening day of VidCon, packed with new feature announcements and TED Talk-style showmanship.
Truth be told, this year’s presentation had only one significant new feature announcement — the imminent arrival of built-in live streaming to the YouTube mobile app. YouTube also unveiled a redesigned Creator Hub, featuring a unified collection of resources for the platform. The rest was mostly TED Talk showmanship, with inspirational messages and stat-backed boasts.
“Almost 40 percent of millennial subscribers say YouTube creators understand them better than their friends do,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki told the crowd. “And over 60 percent say YouTubers have changed their lives.”
In addition to showering millennials with empathy and transformative support, YouTube has also been ganging up with them to kick butt on traditional television.
“While TV networks are losing audiences, we’re growing in every region and across every screen,” said Wojcicki. “Today, more millennials are tuning into YouTube on mobile during primetime than any cable or broadcast TV network.”
Like a good political rally, the keynote also featured inspiring promises, most significantly in regard to the controversial subject of copyright takedowns.
“In April, we announced steps to ensure that no one loses money while rights disputes are being resolved,” said Wojcicki. “We worked with our legal, our finance and our operations teams to set up a new solution that allow videos to continuing earning revenue while a Content ID claim is being disputed. We pay out money to tens of millions of creators every month, around the world, so this isn’t a simple undertaking. But we’re currently testing out the new monetization support and expect to reach 100 percent of all monetized users in next few months.”
“We’re also working to improve comments by giving creators more flexibility to pin a comment at the top of their videos, include GIF’s in responses and even delegate comment moderation to their trusted fans,” she added.
Wojcicki told the crowd that YouTube has identified a number of “freedoms” that it wants to promote — freedom of expression (but perhaps not if you live in the EU), freedom of information, freedom of opportunity (to build a media business on the platform) and the freedom to belong.
And, soon, those freedoms will also include the ability to live stream selfie videos directly from the YouTube app, a la Facebook Live.
“You won’t need to open anything else, just hit the big red capture button right there in the corner, take or select a photo to use as a thumbnail, and you can broadcast live to your fans and chat in near real time,” explained Kurt Wilms, YouTube’s product lead for immersive services.
YouTube’s VidCon keynote also featured an unveiling of YouTube Red’s new programming slate.