During the first quarter of 2020, merely weeks into the COVID-19 health crisis, YouTube recorded an increase of 25 per cent in the total watch time of its videos. Although stats for the rest of the year aren’t publicly available, it’s safe to say that YouTube had a good year last year, which set in motion several new prospects for this year.
Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer at YouTube since 2015, spoke about the platform’s many exciting plans for 2021 in an interview with Fastcompany.com, with growth expected in mainstream YouTube, as well as its spin-off products, such as YouTube TV and YouTube Kids.
Underlying all developments this year is a common principle, Mohan said. “The best analogy that comes to mind for me is really just thinking about YouTube as a stage”, where viewers need “the best views possible of the creators that they’re most excited about”, while content creators are given “all the capabilities that they need to do what they do best.”
In YouTube Kids, for instance, a new option allowing for parents to curate their kids’ watch lists will be available, where they could add videos and channels that wouldn’t appear in the main app.
For YouTube TV, more channels are expected to be added to its line-up following feedback from users, such as Comedy Central and MTV.
In the coming weeks, YouTube will also be launching YouTube Shorts in the US and other countries, after gathering massive appeal in its launch market, India.
This feature, in a rivalry with TikTok, allows smartphone users to shoot 15-second videos, jazz them up with music and create mini-movies up to one minute long.
“I view this as another tool in [a content creator’s] toolbox, if you will,” Mohan said. “Another prop on the stage to engage with their audience, build their audience, and because their core audience is already on YouTube.”
In 2021, the platform will also be launching a payment function called ‘Applause’, which allows viewers to make cash payments to their favourite content creators. The Product Chief describes this function as “a token of my appreciation of some monetary value” to the platform’s users.
Neal Mohan via LinkedIn
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