IBC MENA: YouTube a partner, not predator as TV reaches tipping point

DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 20 January 2015

Contrary to common misconceptions regarding the company's intentions in the TV space, YouTube is a partner for content players and not a predator, said the company's senior director of MENA Stephen Nuttall.

Speaking at IBC Content Everywhere MENA, Nuttall tried to assure the gathering of content professionals that YouTube was ready to help them extend their services into a fast-growing market where traditional TV audiences with set viewing patterns and habits were increasingly being transformed into fans with no fixed agenda nor indeed any limits to their ambitions.

Setting out the groundwork for the market which YouTube addresses, Nuttall said that the company would work to the principles of create, broadcast and share in a world where there were 60 trillion addresses in the internet and 100 billion Google searches every month, 15% of which were new every day.

"We are in the middle of an incredible revolution," he commented. "Connection to all the word's computing power is changing the media industry. The big question is when to embrace these changes. Today's empowered consumers are accustomed to having [coupe power] at their fingertips and [the model is changing as] as to how they are informed, inspired and entertained. Google builds technology platforms to allow people to tell stories. We are a partner, not a predator."

That said, Nuttall acknowledged that the industry had some work to do to address these consumers. He noted that multiscreen, live stream TV activities had to be straightforward and seamless. In addition he asserted that the TV device industry today is where mobile was in 2006. This, he suggested, was bad for both the users and the broadcaster.

The solution to these issues he insisted was Google's Android TV. "Broadcasters want simple solutions, not different version of apps for different manufacturers: this is too resource-intensive and costly. Android TV resolves these challenges and makes the Web work for TV. We try to get technology out of the way of content to make the devices experience as good as anything connected. We are now working across the TV ecosystem to build Android into all of their devices and reimaging the living room. We have reached a tipping point: over half of TV watched by under 30s in US is not on TV as we know it."

Nuttall also said that the dawn of the age of the TV fan and not audience was a signifier of the change in how people consumer content. "Fans choose when and where to watch...[they] lean forward and participate," he remarked. "A fan curates, shares, comments and creates tribute material. Audiences tend to have defined borders; fans have a global TV [perspective] across every content genre. Fans grow audiences. They ignore timeslots timeslots. They are a new and younger base who tune into YouTube and not TV."

Summing up, Nuttall said that at YouTube looks to celebrate its tenth birthday it was looking to build partnerships with content creators. " Thanks to content partners we have a business that will turn ten years old growing at 60% a year" he concluded. We benefit in sales from the on-going revolution, as the Internet gets more capable of delivering a high quality entertainment experience. We are building two-way personal relationships to tell the story."