stunned the tech world earlier this week when it
announced the launch of Alphabet, a parent corporation
designed to allow the continuation of what CEO Larry
Page calls "smaller bets" for better
the process, many speculative ventures were spun off
into satellite companies, leaving a slimmer, more
focused original Google.
company that didn’t go with the Alphabet crowd:
more than 1 billion users and a reported value of $70
billion, YouTube, which will remain part of Google, has
evolved into a major asset for Sergey Brin and Page’s
empire, a seemingly farfetched notion when the tech
giant first acquired the once-small company in 2006.
even as the video platform is at a point in its history
where it can cement its dominance and become ever more
lucrative, some are asking: Is YouTube too big to
company faces a fierce race by competitors — Facebook,
Vine, Vessel and others — to unseat it as the premiere
platform in the marketplace.
has plenty of room to grow but competition is its
biggest challenge," said Paul Verna, a senior
analyst at research firm EMarketer. "Also, when you
have (a company) that big … growth is going to come in
smaller increments. I think they are a very smart
company that’s done a lot of things right. They are
still well positioned to stay ahead."
which began operating under the motto "broadcast
yourself," came into prominence as a democratic
space where anyone with a camera could post a video. Its
amateur style and lack of curation was part of the
video platform has since evolved into a hub of
programming from all parts of the entertainment
industry. But it is best known for its amateur video
creators, many of whom have become professional digital
stars more popular than traditional celebrities — at
least in sought-after younger demographic groups.
YouTube creators, who regularly post content to their
channels, generally stay on the platform to cultivate
their fan base. Some, however, complain about the lack
of revenue generated from their videos.
any YouTube ad, the largest share of the money (55
percent) goes to the creator, according to an analyst
familiar with YouTube’s business practices. Those who
don’t think that’s enough sometimes branch out
beyond YouTube to new platforms in order to make more
money and expand their digital footprints.
many, their traditional home has always been YouTube —
but now there are more alternatives in this world that
has grown up so fast," said Peter Csathy, chief
executive of business advisory firm Manatt Digital
Media. "YouTube is still a juggernaut. … Other
players just have different things to offer."
example, Vessel, which former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar
launched in March, is a new online network that runs off
a $2.99 monthly subscription model. It gives creators 70
percent of advertising revenue. It also shares 60
percent of its subscription revenue with creators. A
growing list of popular online personalities, including
GloZell Green and Shane Dawson, have signed up to give
Vessel exclusive access to their newest videos before
the content becomes available for free on YouTube.
which some analysts consider YouTube’s biggest threat,
is another competitor trying to attract creators. The
social network reports that there are more than 4
billion video views on its social media platform every
day. It also offers a more curated video experience for
YouTube, the experience is perceived as less personal;
most visitors discover new content by spotting it in the
related right rail after they’ve actively sought out a
democratic structure is a two-edge sword," Jim
Nail, principal analyst at Forrester Research, said
about YouTube. "On one hand, being democratic means
there’s a huge audience for creators. On the flip side
of that, there’s a lot of clutter. You have to have
someone that is going to help you navigate."
response, some creators have turned to multichannel
networks, companies that formed specifically to help
digital stars navigate the digital landscape.
was 12 when I joined YouTube in 2006," Lucas
Cruikshank, known for his YouTube personality Fred
Figglehorn, said in an interview with the Los Angeles
Times earlier this year. "There wasn’t anyone
helping me when I first started — until (multichannel
network) Collective Digital Studio came to me. They
rescued me from a bunch of fake managers and told me
they could help me expand my channel."
was a smart move. Cruikshank’s original
"Fred" YouTube channel has now amassed more
than 2.4 million subscribers. With help from CDS, he
also went on to make a movie and TV show for
for all of the multichannel networks and alternative
video platforms that have arisen, it’s important to
note that YouTube often benefits from the innovations
sparked by the newer companies. And most of the creators
that have gone to competing companies still use YouTube
as a platform.
you look at the evolution of film and TV, the diversity
of players and business models benefits everyone in the
ecosystem," Vessel’s Kilar said in an interview
last month. "We don’t see ourselves as direct
competition. … We see ourselves as helping creators to
be more ambitious and create better content."
addition, YouTube has spent years making efforts to pull
away from its more chaotic past by offering services to
creators similar to that of smaller multichannel
2009, the video platform launched YouTube Creator
Academy, which offers more than 50 lessons and 12
courses online to users. The platform also has a wide
variety of group courses available, some of which take
place at the YouTube spaces in various cities across the
February 2014, Susan Wojcicki, who previously headed
advertising and commerce at Google, was tapped to
succeed Salar Kamangar as YouTube CEO, a move that
marked a shift toward a new vision for the company and
could help YouTube act like a smaller company as it
continues to grow.
itself began in 1998 in Wojcicki’s garage in Palo
Alto, Calif., which she rented to the search giant’s
co-founders, Page and Brin. She was the company’s
sixteenth hire, and became a driving force behind Google’s
acquisition of YouTube for $1.65 billion.
the last year, under Wojcicki, the company has embarked
on a variety of new initiatives to boost revenue and
improve the platform’s overall experience for fans,
creators and multichannel networks.
even highlighted YouTube for its growth during its
second-quarter earnings call in July, noting that the
average YouTube viewing session on a mobile device is 40
minutes, a 60 percent year-to-year increase driving the
fastest growth the company has seen in two years. The
number of channels earning six figures is also up 50
percent year over year.
of Wojcicki credit her for helping YouTube be at the
forefront of innovation.
Rafati, CEO of BroadbandTV, a Vancouver, Canada-based
tech and media company that represents YouTube talent,
said Wojcicki reached out to her last year to learn more
about the company’s vision and overall experience with
really took the time to understand our needs and plans
for the future," Rafati said in an email interview.
VidCon, an annual three-day conference for online video
held in July at the Anaheim Convention Center, Wojcicki
received several rounds of applause as she delivered the
keynote address before a packed conference hall filled
with creators and industry players.
that night, the longtime executive walked around the
company’s party like the biggest YouTube star in the
room. Guests crowded around her, patting her on the back
to say congratulations. Others gawked from afar, perhaps
too intimidated to approach the party’s ultimate VIP.
a pure business perspective, you can’t deny YouTube
has performed under Susan," Csathy said. "But
one of the challenges she faces is pushing back on all
the industry forces who are against YouTube and its
YouTube CEO is aware of the obstacles — and she’s
others in the online video space, YouTube is expanding
its original content. The company announced it is
collaborating with the DreamWorks Animation-owned
network Awesomeness TV to release several feature-length
films over the next two years. More recently, the
company named former MTV programming chief Susanne
Daniels as vice president of YouTube Originals, where
she will oversee development and production.
revealed at VidCon that the company will be redesigning
its mobile app with new creation tools and features for
users. YouTube will also launch support for 360-degree
videos in 3-D, to enable immersive virtual reality
are going in the right direction but there’s a lot
more work for us to do," Wojcicki told The Times
after her keynote speech at VidCon. "We are
cautiously excited, but I’m really focused on the