YouTube's Robert Kyncl stepped on the CES stage Jan. 8 to talk about YouTube Red, the company's paid ad-free subscription service which was launched on Oct. 28, 2015, and the impact that YouTube has on promoting new content to larger audiences.
The chief business officer explained that YouTube Red is actually aimed at teenagers who prefer to watch viral videos uninterrupted as well as those who want to create their own content in hopes of making it big like top YouTube earner, PewDiePie.
Kyncl said the key to viral stars' success is the openness of the medium. Since YouTube offers that democracy, anyone can then create and share their own content. The content diversity gives users more choices and YouTube Red will only add to that since it will produce original content from YouTube's most viral celebrities.
"For the second year in a row, the most popular entertainers amongst American high schoolers weren't film actors or musicians, they were YouTube stars," Kyncl said. "It's a lot more attainable to be the next PewDiePie than the next Tom Cruise."
Kyncl is not wrong since PewDiePie's popularity compared to Tom Cruise's is on a whole different level, which also proves just how effective a medium YouTube really is in opening up new opportunities to younger generations when it comes to the creative sphere.
He also emphasized that, while launching a new service is not new considering how video or music streaming services have been popping up, YouTube Red is actually more advantageous because it's not only a video streaming service, but a subscription will also unlock a music application called YouTube Music, which provides a personalized listening experience. This means that, for $10 a month, subscribers can watch viral videos and listen to their favorite music artists whether at home or on the go without the annoying advertisements that pop up prior to and while playing the selected content.
"YouTube is [a] major source of that music – more than half of all teenagers use us as their main way to find and listen to new artists, in large part because we have the biggest and best music library available," Kyncl claimed.
Kyncl cited Michelle Phan, another YouTube celebrity, to show just how much impact YouTube has on the creative ventures of the younger generation. Phan has her own YouTube makeup demonstration channel whose subscribers went from 2 million to 7 million and was eventually tapped by commercial entities. One of them is cosmetics manufacturer L'Oreal with whom Phan launched her own cosmetics line. Her YouTube popularity also allowed her to raise funds for her own startup company, Ipsy, which is currently valued at more than half a billion dollars... and it all started with a small YouTube channel.
Michelle Phan isn't alone because YouTube celebrities like Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, and Lilly Singh also made a lot of money from their own channels and even made it to Forbes list of "The World's Top-Earning YouTube Stars" and "30 Under 30," respectively.
"400 hours of video are shared on YouTube every single minute," Kyncl said. The question now is whether YouTube's target generation will invest in a $10 monthly subscription for a chance at Internet stardom since competition in YouTube has become fiercer because, as he said, YouTube's content library is incredibly diverse.