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Abu Dhabi Media Summit: Google's Kyncl says YouTube will charge for content

YouTube to charge subscription fees for content; he says Google is ‘complementary’ to broadcasters, not at war with them.

Fresh from his keynote speech at MIPCOM, where he confirmed YouTube’s plans to invest in 60 European channels, Robert Kyncl (Global Head of Content Partnerships, Google) has given further details of the internet giant’s strategy toward content. He has also dismissed the idea that Google and traditional TV broadcasters need to become bitter opponents.

Kyncl was speaking during “The War For The Living Room,” an event at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit.

“The name of this panel is ‘War for the Living Room.’ We are not really at war at all,” Kyncl insisted of Google’s relationship with television. “We are complementary.”

He outlined different models under which advertisers could use Google.

One option is for advertisers only to pay for the ads the public watch. “When that happens, they don’t mind paying more,” Kyncl noted.

Alongside this, YouTube would “over time introduce an option for all of our channel partners to start charging subscriptions for their content.”

On the one hand, user-generated content remains absolutely central, “our greatest gift” as Kyncl called it. On the other, YouTube is also increasingly looking to “professional” content.

However, Kyncl also pointed out that “professional” wasn’t a straightforward term when applied to YouTube. He cited the example of Michelle Phan as a case in point: someone who started posting beauty tutorials on YouTube in the way any member of the public might but who is now “tremendously successful,” with “bigger ratings than the Style Network.”

Speaking alongside Kyncl, Ward Platt, President - Asia Pacific & the Middle East - FOX International Channels, likewise dismissed that internet companies and broadcasters were at war.

“More competition is a good thing,” Platt said. “We’re moving from one place to another, they’re moving from one place to another. We’ll probably be closer together in five years than we are today.” 

He noted that Fox International has grown from “less than 30 channels to more than 300 channels over the last 10 years.”

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