YouTube is the world's biggest video platform, and its most popular content is still relatively short video clips. But over the last year Robert Kyncl, the service's chief business officer, has begun to lay the groundwork for a new era of YouTube. He led the launch of YouTube Red, a subscription service that eliminates ads and brings a bunch of premium features to customers. He's also created separate apps for YouTube's three most popular verticals: gaming, kids, and music.
We sat down for a chat with Kyncl at CES. He gave a keynote speech earlier in the week, and one major focus was music. Despite being a video service, YouTube's massive scale means it's also the world's most popular platform for streaming music. The new Music app is optimized for that experience, adding features like offline playlists and background play. We chatted about MTV and why YouTube has the ability to be many different things to different people all at once.
The second major focus in Knycl's speech was virtual reality, a technology that seems poised on the cusp of a major breakthrough to the mainstream in 2016. YouTube has been pushing into 360 degree and 3D video, moves which Kyncl believes will lay the groundwork for virtual reality on the platform. With the arrival of a much more immersive experience, he also believes YouTube can become a far more immersive experience, a shift that may allow higher quality content to thrive.
Come for the delightful interview, stay for my bizarre vocal tics, shameless promotional plugs, and shiny bald head.