NATPE: YouTube Red ‘beats target’, preps launches

YouTube Red is tracking ahead of the “ambitious” subs targets Google has set the streaming service, and will launch in a raft of new territories this year, Susanne Daniels, global head of original content, YouTube, said in a keynote address at NATPE Miami yesterday.

Susanne Daniels croppedDaniels joined the Google-owned online video platform last year from MTV, and now oversees content on YouTube and its ad-free and original content channel YouTube Red.

This year will see the SVOD service hit a raft of new territories, in new languages, according to Daniels. “We’re launching original content in local languages in Japan this year as well as Korea,” she said. “We also hope to roll out later this year in France, Germany, Spain and Mexico.”

The YouTube content boss also said the digital firm will start to work with traditional producers and stars this year, having focused on YouTube stars thus far.

“We spent 2016 playing in one lane, which is working with YouTube creators and that made a lot of sense,” she said. “I felt that was the right way to jump-start YouTube Red, but in 2017 what you will see us do is start to broaden out and work with more traditional talent and go for the best content we can go for.”

Google and YouTube measure SVOD success in terms of subscription numbers and subscriber retention, Daniels noted, adding Google had set very ambitious targets in these respects. She would not break out numbers but said: “We launched in February 2016 and met our first-year goal in December.”

Daniels said she wouldn’t discount competition from Facebook, which is moving more heavily into video, but said YouTube was way ahead of the social network. They skew older and their average watch time is very short, it’s under a minute, our average watch time is 30 minutes, so I’m not overly concerned about [Facebook] right now.”

Daniels has previously worked at US cable net Lifetime and broadcaster The CW.