Robert Kyncl, YouTube's chief business officer, discussed the future of the most popular video streaming platform at CES 2016 and announced a new partnership with GoPro.
Kyncl spent the last five years with YouTube, after being a part of team Netflix for seven years, which amounts to 12 years spent at the heart of the digital video phenomena. With this vast experience under his belt, he has a pretty good idea of what's going on in the field and how fast the industry can grow.
The position of CBO puts him in charge of every business function at YouTube. This means sales, marketing, general operations and content.
"I believe digital video will overtake TV to become the single largest way people spend their free time before the end of this decade," Kyncl said.
If the statement seems too hopeful and far-fetched, know that a number of facts support Kyncl's prophecy.
Each quarter, the digital video industry pours out original content at a fast rate. Netflix, HBO and Hulu already provide original content on a regular basis, and YouTube recently launched YouTube Red, a subscription section dedicated to exclusive content creation.
The inherent mobility of digital video is overwhelming. With smartphones becoming bigger and more adapt at rendering HD videos, the shift in consumer behavior from static TV time to on-the-go video watching is visible to the naked eye. Not less important, the immersion factor on mobile devices vastly dwarfs traditional TV or computer screen engagement.
Kyncl adds that YouTube is one of the major players that will shape the way how people enjoy video content. The YouTube CBO is certain that digital video will become the most commonplace way to spend free time.
Kyncl jokingly states that, for most people, only two things are more popular than watching videos: sleeping and eating.
YouTube's CBO used his CES stage time to present how the video streaming company grew in the last years, as well as the success stories that emerged - thanks to YouTube. Enter Scooter Braun, the man who spotted Justin Bieber in 2007. Braun found Bieber by browsing music videos on YouTube, nine years ago.
Braun, who was one of the guests at Kyncl's keynote speech, shared with the audience how discovering Bieber through YouTube affected his life. He encouraged content creators to use the video platform and do their best to showcase their potential.
— CES (@CES) January 8, 2016
"Make content that makes people feel," he urges artists everywhere. If there is something that is certain, it is the fact that YouTube may and will offer young artists exposure.
"It's a democratic platform where anyone can create something everyone can watch," Kyncl points out.
Braun underlines that video plays a tremendous importance now, in an era when most millennial search for new musical artists on YouTube.
During his keynote speech, Kyncl said that YouTube's traffic exploded over recent years. He explained that "1 billion views" used to be an exceptional event, but now quite a few videos broke the 1 billion barrier.
Kyncl also invited Nick Woodman, CEO and founder of GoPro action cameras, to say a few words.
Woodman announced that GoPro and YouTube signed a partnership which aims to deliver increased 360-degree content to the video platform. The GoPro leader mentioned that a more "casual" model of Odyssey spherical cameras is in tow, meaning that users will have access to a more affordable 360-degree camera, as soon as possible. For now, the GoPro Odyssey is one of the best cameras able to capture immersive 360 degrees videos.
— CES (@CES) January 8, 2016
At the end of his speech, Kyncl announced that YouTube prepares to support HDR video.
For the less tech savvy readers, HDR is a technology that uses two images or videos and merges them into one single file, thus obtaining the best resolution and lighting quality available.
We look forward to seeing if Kyncl's optimism turns into reality, and we will make sure to update you on the evolution of digital video industry.