'YouTube eyes pay to play'
Users will pay fee to watch new shows.
YouTube doesn’t want to kill-off the humble television set – but you’ll soon be able to pay to watch your favourite TV shows on the hugely popular website.
That was the message from a senior executive at the Google-owned video sharing giant yesterday, as he denied his firm was “at war” with the traditional television industry.
Robert Kyncl, global head of content at YouTube, told the second day of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit that the firm wanted to work with TV rather than replace it.
“We’re not really competing… we are not really at war at all,” he said.
That’s despite YouTube recently announcing it is to partner with European media companies including Britain’s BBC on original programming, something which follows a similar initiative agreed with US firms last year.
And Kyncl revealed yesterday that YouTube is moving towards allowing some of the firms with channels on the site to charge users to watch their content as it seeks to “mesh content created by users with content created by professionals”.
“You will see us over time introduce an option to all of our channel partners to start charging subscriptions for their content,” he told delegates.
But if YouTube is establishing closer ties with TV, increasingly its users are accessing its own content on devices other than a TV set.
Mobile views - that’s anything under the iPad’s 11 inches - of YouTube clips have rocketed from 6 per cent to 25 per cent of the total in the last 18 months, Kyncl said. Saudi Arabia now sees 50 per cent of content viewed on mobile handsets.
However, Fox TV executive Ward Platt said the rise of the tablet and smartphone was good for the goggle-box. He said: “We are now sitting in front of the television with another device and interacting with what’s on the television screen.”
Even so, Kyncl says YouTube now considers our portable its priority, adding: “The living room is right here in your pocket and goes with you wherever you are.”