YouTube vs. TV? YouTube says the battle - if there ever was one - is over.
a flashy presentation to advertisers Wednesday night, Google Executive
Chairman Eric Schmidt declined to forecast that Internet video will
displace television watching. Instead he declared: "That's already
Schmidt said "the future is now" for YouTube, which
recently passed the milestone of 1 billion unique visitors every month.
But, he added with the Third World in mind, if you think that's a large
number, "wait until you get to 6 (billion) or 7 billion."
and YouTube, which billed the event as a "brandcast," shifted away from
the video platform's relationship to TV. A year ago, YouTube seemed to
have its sights set on reinventing television by funding the launch of
more than 100 channels from well-known media brands and Hollywood
But that initiative went unmentioned at Wednesday's
presentation, held at a Lower East Side pier as part of a week of
"NewFronts," (digital media's version of the TV tradition of promoting
programming and selling ads). Though the model for the evening was TV,
YouTube used it to distinguish itself as something entirely different.
not a replacement for something that we know," said Schmidt. "It's a
new thing that we have to think about, to program, to curate and build
The presentation featured performances by Snoop
Dogg and Macklemore, as well as YouTube personalities like Felicia Day.
YouTube focused on its global reach, community engagement and enormous
"I thought that YouTube was like TV, but it isn't. I was
wrong," said Robert Kyncl, YouTube's global head of content. "TV is
one-way. YouTube talks back."
Some comparisons were inevitable. One fact highly touted was that more 18- to 34-year-olds watch YouTube than any cable network.
"TV means reach," said Kyncl. "YouTube means engagement."
companies like Yahoo and AOL have used their NewFront presentations to
announce new slates of original programming, YouTube made no programming
announcements Wednesday night.
It did, though, announce a
partnership with the Association of National Adverstisers' Alliance for
Family Entertainment to create more digital family content.
also celebrated DreamWorks Animation's purchase Wednesday of the
teen-focused YouTube network Awesomeness TV for $33 million. DreamWorks
CEO Jeffery Katzenberg appeared with Awesomeness founder and CEO Brian
Robbins, the former "Head of the Class" actor.
"This is a whole
new form of content, content delivery and content consumption," said
Katzenberg. "It's the medium of the future and the future has already