YouTube CEO Unveils User Numbers, Plans For VR And Live Streaming

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki apparently had a lot to crow about at her appearance today at the VidCon confab for online video fans and creators.

She disclosed to the Anaheim gathering that YouTube now logs 1.5 billion viewers a month.

“That’s the equivalent of one in every five people around the world,” she says. “And how much do those people watch? On average, our viewers spend over an hour a day watching YouTube on mobile devices alone.”

The Google-owned company also talked up a plans to help people upload virtual reality videos with new cameras that capture 180-degree images in 3-D– making them more affordable than ones needed for a full surround 360-degrees.

With the new format, called VR180, and cameras, creators “only have to worry about recording what’s in front of them while viewers get an awesome, immersive experience with a VR headset, or a video that looks just as great on a phone as any other video,” she says.

The company is working with LG, Yi and Lenovo to build new VR180 cameras expected to cost “a couple hundred dollars,” she says.

The CEO also disclosed changes in YouTube’s mobile app so it will automatically fill screens for vertical, square, or horizontal videos.

The desktop experience will also get a makeover.

“The new design is clean and fresh, and it has new features, such as a super cool Dark Theme that gives videos more of a cinematic look,” according to Wojcicki.

She also has an update for YouTube TV, Google’s $35-a-month live-TV streaming service: It’s about to add 10 markets to the five it had when it launched in April, she says.

In a few weeks the service will be available in Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington, D.C., Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, and Charlotte.

The announcement suggests that the company has agreements to retransmit broadcasts from local affiliates of ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC.

YouTube TV launched in April in New York, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago and Philadelphia where the networks own their local stations.

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