ANAHEIM, Calif. — Though galvanizing oratory may not be her wont, even at a gigantic digital media convention where 18,000 shrieking tweens have congregated to meet their favorite Internet celebrities, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced several new products and a handful of fresh stats during her keynote address at VidCon yesterday.
After ticking off YouTube’s top three priorities — “mobile, mobile and mobile” — and noting that half of all YouTube views take place on mobile devices, Wojcicki unveiled YouTube’s freshly redesigned app. Among other features, it will include vertical video viewing, new editing tools and a bright red interface — with “more coming next week,” she said
Additionally, Wojcicki announced that two new YouTube Spaces are slated to open this year in Toronto and Mumbai. YouTube currently operates six total spaces — which serve as free production facilities and educational hubs for creators — in Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, São Paulo, New York and Berlin.
Such investments are paying off majorly in terms of content proliferation and audience growth. Overall “watch time,” for instance, has increased 60 percent year-over-year. (As opposed to Facebook’s measurement of video views, bolstered by its autoplay feature, YouTube clocks total viewed hours as a better means of tracking actual engagement.) Additionally, Wojcicki said, 400 hours of video content are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
This growth is benefiting creators as well: the number of YouTube channels boasting six-figure incomes has increased by 50 percent year-over-year.
Given the seismic rise of online video across the board, it is inevitable that some creators are expanding onto other platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and Vessel, Wojcicki said. Nevertheless, she sees YouTube as a kind of home base. “Creators will try different things, but they’ll come back to the place that generates the most success for them.”
Because at the end of the day, as the forebearer of online video as we know it today, YouTube is responsible for spawning a whole new class of entrepreneurs.
“Time and time again, when I’ve spoken to all of you as creators, you told me that you had a passion — something that you wanted to share with the world, but you didn’t feel like it could be a career,” Wojcicki told VidCon attendees. “But with YouTube, you were able to stay true to yourself — and find an audience as passionate as you were that you could connect to.”