YouTube announced that 1.5 billion logged in users visit the platform each month and several new features at Vidcon 2017, an annual digital video-focused convention, VentureBeat reports.
YouTube also unveiled a new virtual reality (VR) video format, called VR180, announced the expansion of YouTube TV to 10 more markets, and showed glimpses of 12 upcoming YouTube Red originals. The most impactful announcements made are listed below.
- Messaging and sharing features within the YouTube app: Users will be able to chat and share YouTube videos with their friends in-app, as opposed to leaving the app to share a link. This could help retain users and boost average app engagement time. YouTube previously unveiled these features last year as an initial pilot. With this update, YouTube is becoming more of a social platform, like Facebook. On the other hand, Facebook has been pushing its video offerings for a while, in part to be able to compete with and draw eyeballs from YouTube. Facebook also recently started testing new features on its Videos tab on Android.
- Flexible format for mobile YouTube video viewing: This will adapt the aspect ratio of any video, regardless of whether it is filmed vertically or horizontally — meaning users will no longer see mattes, or black bars, on sides of their videos. This could improve the user experience, but also provides opportunities for creators and ad formats shot vertically. These new creative opportunities and ad formats could attract content creators and brands to YouTube.
- TV as a medium of consumption: TV is the fastest-growing medium of YouTube consumption, currently advancing at a 90% annual clip. According to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, people watch one hour of YouTube on mobile devices, and up to four hours of TV, per day — suggesting there is room to grow for YouTube consumption on TV. This could indicate YouTube’s push to become more TV-like is gaining traction. Also, this a signal to TV brand advertisers that YouTube is a platform worth investing in.