YouTube says it’s a post-TV phenom

NEW YORK — YouTube vs. TV? YouTube says the battle — if there ever was one — is over.

In a flashy presentation to advertisers Wednesday night, Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, declined to forecast that Internet video will displace television watching. Instead he declared: ‘‘That’s already happened.’’

Schmidt said ‘‘the future is now’’ for YouTube, which recently passed the milestone of 1 billion unique visitors every month. But, he added with the Third World in mind, ‘‘wait until you get to 6 or 7 billion.’’


Schmidt and YouTube have shifted away from the video platform’s relationship to TV. A year ago, YouTube seemed to have its sights set on reinventing television by funding the launch of more than 100 channels. But that initiative went unmentioned at Wednesday’s presentation. Though the model for the evening was TV, YouTube used it to distinguish itself as something entirely different.

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‘‘It’s not a replacement for something that we know,’’ Schmidt said. ‘‘It’s a new thing that we have to think about, to program, to curate and build new platforms.’’

YouTube focused on its global reach, community engagement and enormous audience.

‘‘I thought that YouTube was like TV, but it isn’t. I was wrong,’’ said Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s global head of content. ‘‘TV is one-way. YouTube talks back.’’

Some comparisons were inevitable. One was that more 18- to 34-year-olds watch YouTube than any cable network.


‘‘TV means reach,’’ Kyncl said. ‘‘YouTube means engagement.’’ YouTube made no programming announcements Wednesday night.

YouTube celebrated DreamWorks Animation’s purchase of the teen-focused YouTube network Awesomeness TV for $33 million. DreamWorks CEO Jeffery Katzenberg appeared with Awesomeness founder and CEO Brian Robbins, the former ‘‘Head of the Class’’ actor.

‘‘This is a whole new form of content, content delivery, and content consumption,’’ said Katzenberg. ‘‘It’s the ­medium of the future and the future has already arrived.’’