The way consumers access and consume media is changing rapidly, YouTube head Salar Kamangar believes, and YouTube is evolving to accommodate it.
“We’re entering the third wave of media,” Kamangar said during an on-stage interview with AllThingsD‘s Peter Kafka in Laguna Nigel, Calif., Tuesday. “The first wave was the broadcast networks. The second wave was cable networks. Now it’s about giving people exactly what they want to watch today,”
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People have specific interests in a variety of topics — say, yoga and stand-up surfing — but it’s difficult to find a continuous stream of video content catered to those interests, Kamangar contends.
YouTube is looking to bridge that void by developing channels that are more topically specific and interactive than what viewers are currently able to find through traditional, one-way broadcasting channels. The online video network has invested $100 million in developing premium content channels catering to subjects such as business news, food, dance, education, pets, fashion and fitness.
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YouTube is also seeking to develop a lean-back viewing experience. “Right now [on YouTube], you watch a three-minute video, and every three minutes you have to decide what you want to watch next,” Kamangar said.
YouTube wants audiences to be able to watch more passively, he added: “The idea is that you’ll subscribe to a channel and you’ll go and just keep watching.”
So, while YouTube is striving to differentiate itself from traditional broadcast TV in some respects — namely, in serving niche interests — the video platform is working to function more like it in others.
But there are risks. YouTube is rolling out 100 premium content channels this year: a number that some viewers will no doubt find overwhelming. And there’s as yet no visible indication that users want a more passive viewing experience from YouTube.
Kamangar admits that it’s “very difficult for any of us [at YouTube] to predict what will be successful,” but that it’s essential to experiment.
“We’d rather be early than late,” he added.
This story originally published on Mashable here.