Sil­i­con Val­ley spe­cial

YouTube’s Robert Kyncl talks video, TV and cre­ativ­ity

The Australian - The Deal - - News - He­len Trinca

Robert Kyncl, the chief busi­ness of­fi­cer of YouTube, says that in five years or so we will find it “weird” if we can't search, share, in­ter­act and com­ment as we watch tele­vi­sion or video sites. He says the big evo­lu­tion in video will be in how con­tent is viewed and or­gan­ised, and that it will be­come much more per­son­alised and eas­ily share­able.

“Sto­ry­telling where peo­ple can be­come part of the story ... [where] you can com­ment and share and in­ter­act, hasn’t been here, and it is ar­riv­ing very quickly,” says Kyncl, who pre­vi­ously worked at Netflix. “Imag­ine you were do­ing

Amer­i­can Idol, imag­ine all of that hap­pen­ing in an in­ter­ac­tive fash­ion, on a global stage where peo­ple are com­pet­ing but they don’t have to go stand in line at some city, but sub­mit­ting en­tries this way. It’s all done with pop­u­lar vote, you can bring so much fun into it, you can have live broad­casts … You are go­ing to see the in­ter­ac­tion of au­di­ences and the pro­gram­mers much more in the fu­ture.”

Kyncl pre­dicts a world far from con­ven­tional view­ing, in­clud­ing far greater use of live stream­ing as the in­fra­struc­ture of the in­ter­net keeps im­prov­ing.

“All th­ese things will be so much eas­ier to en­able. Even to­day you see pres­i­dents do­ing Google hang­outs with their con­stituents. Imag­ine that hap­pen­ing dur­ing the State of the Union! The pos­si­bil­i­ties be­come end­less. What is crit­i­cal at that mo­ment is that you have a plat­form that can seam­lessly ex­e­cute on it and de­liver on it.”

Imag­in­ing the fu­ture is part of Kyncl’s job, but YouTube is very much a “suck it and see” cul­ture – al­though the Czech-born ex­ec­u­tive uses a dif­fer­ent term, it­er­a­tion, to de­scribe how the site ex­per­i­ments, tweaks and retweaks of­fer­ings.

He says that fu­ture video will gen­er­ate a “much more ro­bust, cre­ative ecosys­tem be­cause the com­pe­ti­tion among so many cre­ators will breed a new class of cre­ators who will be phe­nom­e­nally good at build­ing au­di­ences”. The best of them will be "un­beat­able".

“Imag­ine you have 50 mil­lion or 100 mil­lion peo­ple fol­low­ing ev­ery­thing you do,” he says. “Imag­ine the busi­ness model you will have. So you are go­ing to see real strong con­tent cre­ators who will as­cend to heights we haven’t re­ally seen in the way they will be able to ex­pand their busi­nesses, be­cause once you have that power, you take that brand and ex­pand it hor­i­zon­tally into vir­tu­ally any­thing you want.”

Mean­while, YouTube moves hor­i­zon­tally and ver­ti­cally and ev­ery which way into ev­ery cor­ner of the world, with view­ers and cre­ators dis­play­ing var­i­ous na­tional ap­proaches to the site. Asians are less cre­ative, says Kyncl, but big con­sumers, and YouTube is work­ing hard to build the con­tent for that re­gion. Europe has a ro­bust cre­ative sys­tem, pro­duc­ing 25 per cent of all con­tent on the plat­form, and “we wish we had that ev­ery­where”. In­dia is a “mas­sive ex­porter” of con­tent, as is Korea, where 75 per cent of all YouTube view­ing is on mo­biles. The Ja­panese con­sume a huge amount of lo­cal con­tent and Ja­pan is one of the top coun­tries for “watch time” but “im­ported (con­tent) doesn't work as well”.

As for Aus­tralia, we are big con­sumers, but Kyncl says he’d love to see us cre­at­ing much more con­tent.

IdeasVal­ley

On the cover: YouTube CEO Su­san Wo­j­ci­cki pho­tographed by Nor­man Jean Roy/Trunk

Ar­chive/Snap­per Me­dia

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