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YouTube mobile reach ‘outstrips US cable nets’

YouTube on mobile devices reaches more 18 to 49-year-olds than any cable network in the US, according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Sundar PichaiSpeaking on Google parent company Alphabet’s fourth quarter earnings call, Pichai (pictured) said the time people spent watching YouTube in the living room had also more than doubled in 2015.

“People watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube every day, and it continues to be a must-have for all brand advertisers,” said Pichai, claiming the service has more than a billion users, 80% of whom are outside the US.

He said that revenue for the online video service “continues to grow at a very significant rate,” driven primarily by advertising via: TrueView, a service that lets viewers choose which ads they see; and GooglePreferred, an option that lets advertisers reserve ad space against some of the most popular YouTube channels.

“Between incredibly strong viewership growth, the move of advertising budgets to digital video, great new features, as well as the successful rollouts of YouTube Music and our YouTube Red subscription offering, I couldn’t be more excited about the prospects for YouTube in the years ahead,” said Pichai.

On the call, he also said to expect a lot more from Google and its partners in 2016 in the virtual reality space – building on its low-cost Cardboard VR viewers and its nascent support for 360-degree videos on YouTube.

“It’s still incredibly early innings for virtual reality as a platform, and Cardboard is just the first step, but we are excited by theprogress we have seen. Our partners have shipped over five million Google Cardboard viewers, and we recently teamed up with The New York Times on a virtual reality experience in which over one million Times subscribers received Cardboard,” said Pichai.

He also said that Google Play, Google’s hub for digital content, “continues to see great momentum” with spend per buyer in the Play store growing last year by more than 30% globally compared to 2014.

Overall Alphabet reported revenues of US$21.3 billion for the three months ended December 31, 2015, up from US$18.1 billion a year earlier – growth which the company said was driven by mobile search as well as YouTube and programmatic advertising. GAAP net income was US$4.92 billion in the quarter, compared to US$4.68 billion a year earlier.