YouTube Relies On Traditional TV, But They Remain Semi-Partners

YouTube sees growth. Mobile, you ask? Try television.

Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer for YouTube, told broadcasters at a European TV conference that although 70% of YouTube’s consumption is happening on mobile, more than 180 million hours are watched per day on television sets with 45% year-over-year growth in the European Union alone.

New digital pay TV platforms are still growing -- even against traditional pay TV platforms. Many have both types of services to sell to consumers.

But more of the upside -- for YouTube -- isn’t as much for mobile, laptops or desktops platforms/devices. It’s actual TV sets. Now that comes to 119.9 million TV homes and about 2.3 TV sets per home. Internet-connected TVs?  Around 150 million.

YouTube executives don’t believe television is an adversary. “Not only are we not the enemy,” Mohan said, but rather a “sustainable, deeply invested partner.”



Still, it’s a mixed message. Traditional TV networks do a lot of business on digital media -- on their own apps, third-party services, ad-support platforms and non-advertising platforms -- and generate revenue.

Versus other new digital services providing live, linear TV networks -- Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Playstation Vue, fuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, and Philo -- YouTube's strategy has been in line with many traditional players.

Initial TV network deals for YouTube TV were made with big broadcast-TVcentric players as the basis of its digital service, offering live, linear TV networks. It was done to lure traditional TV consumers. TV is YouTube’s “partners,” Mohan says.

YouTube or YouTube TV doesn’t look much like Netflix. Instead, it will look to create content from YouTube creators suited to the big screen, according to Mohan -- not necessarily from premium Hollywood studio looking TV shows and movies.

That would seem to be a complimentary service to what is out there.

Yet for all its major success when it comes to digital media advertising revenues -- YouTube and Google -- are also competing for a big chunk of traditional TV’s $70 billion a year market. That’s where “premium” TV content lies. These friendly partnerships might move to another dynamic.

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