YouTube Readies Paid Service, Mobile Viewership on the Rise

During its recent earnings call, Google claimed that YouTube is now bigger than any single cable network among the 18-49 demographic. YouTube’s heavily engaged user base and significant mobile growth were highlights of the discussion. The video-sharing network will put its own online stars to the test early next year when its new paid video service is expected to launch. Media partners representing more than 90 percent of current YouTube viewing have signed on to the new service, although Google has yet to secure deals with major TV networks.

youtube2“Google’s Chief Business Officer Omid Kordestani noted that visitors to YouTube’s homepage are up over three times year-over-year, and once there, they’re spending more time watching videos on the site than ever before,” reports TechCrunch. “Growth in ‘watch time’ on YouTube is now up 60 percent year-over-year, the company said.”

Meanwhile, mobile users are now averaging sessions of 40 minutes, a 50 percent jump over the previous year. This marks a major change in how people are consuming video content, as they become more comfortable replacing the living room TV with smartphones and tablets.

“That speaks to the site’s success in becoming more of a discovery platform for video content, with its recommended and related video suggestions, and tools that let users track their favorite webseries and shows,” suggests TechCrunch.

Related shifts are occurring across demographics. According to Miner & Co., 57 percent of parents say their children now prefer mobiles devices to television sets, and for some, TV is even seen as a form of punishment. And while teenagers now find YouTube stars more influential than mainstream media personalities, eMarketer projects that adults in the U.S. will spend more than 5.5 hours watching videos each day this year, of which 1 hour and 16 minutes will take place via computers, mobile devices and game consoles.

As YouTube readies its paid service, VidStatsX notes that “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” are the only two network shows that presently rank in the Top 50 on YouTube. While the service’s lineup will include plenty of music videos and homegrown content, it has yet to secure networks such as CBS, Fox and NBC. Although it is not clear whether such content would be necessary, it is proven draws for rivals such as Amazon and Netflix.

“Without shows like those, YouTube’s commercial-free service will have to attract paying viewers with original series, music videos and thousands of its channels already available for free,” explains Bloomberg.

Related:
YouTube Stars Keep Facebook at Arm’s Length for Now, The Wall Street Journal, 7/20/15