With over a billion users YouTube is the number one online video platform and the number of users represent about one-third of all people on the Internet. On a daily basis, people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views. But, as every successful product online, there needs to be a re-branding with focusing on penetrating the next billion users on mobile and other platforms while retaining the current users. Since March 2014, the number of people watching YouTube per day is up 40% year on year and 80% of YouTube’s views are from outside of the U.S, yes that includes us here in Africa. Although Google is bullish on dishing out YouTube stats for Africa. The company so far has localized versions of YouTube in more than 88 countries in a total of 76 different languages (covering 95% of the Internet population). Okay enough with the statistics, what does the future of YouTube look like? We got a glimpse of this at last week’s Google I/O developer conference.
The company has taken it’s first steps towards a truly immersive video experience for the future, and now they are taking another one with the YouTube VR (Virtual Reality) app for Daydream. Daydream is Google’s platform for high-quality mobile virtual reality. The company is currently rebuilding the YouTube app from scratch and creating the YouTube VR app, but will be provide an easier, more immersive way to find and experience virtual reality content on YouTube?
What happens to the crucial YouTube features like the comment section, once they go VR? From YouTube’s own PR statement, they don’t mention what happens to it, all they say is that the YouTube features that are coming to the new app are; voice search, discovery, and playlists. Let me neglect the fact the VR experience requires the VR headsets themselves, well Google announced that the first Daydream phones from HTC, Samsung and the rest of the gang aren’t coming out till later this year. This leaves a huge gap in availability.
To bring even more great VR content, YouTube has been working with some amazing creators in the US to experiment with new formats that offer a wide range of virtual experiences. Whether that list of creators includes local content creators here is Africa is a long short, but all we need to do is catch up with this upcoming VR apocalypse and how it will drive up the YouTube stats in the future.