Robert Kyncl addresses Abu Dhabi Media Summit

ABU DHABI — YouTube will start experimenting with charging subscription fees for some of its branded content following its partnerships, announced at Mipcom, with European TV content providers to feed 60 new channels.

“You will see us offer an option to all the channels that are our partners to start charging subscriptions for their content,” said Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s VP, global head of content, speaking at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit.

Kyncl added that the partners themselves — which at this stage include BBC Worldwide, Endemol and FremantleMedia — will decide if they want to pursue that traditional pay TV broadcasting business model.

“The majority will be ad-supported, and there will be some that will be paid,” he predicted during a panel titled “The War for the Living Room.”

As for YouTube’s advertising model, Kyncl said one option is for advertisers only to pay for the ads the public watch. “When that happens, they don’t mind paying more,” he noted.

The move sees YouTube continuing to encroach in territory traditionally occupied by broadcasters, now also adopting both their traditional content and pay TV business model.

That said, Kyncl emphasized that user-generated content remains absolutely central to the service, “our greatest gift,” he said.

He also proudly pointed out that in Saudi Arabia 50% of YouTube consumption takes place on mobile devices.

Asked what lies ahead, he said “for us the most exciting development is when you will be making selections from your phone and sending them to your TV. That is coming very soon.”

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