This column is part of Variety's Broken Hollywood feature. For more execs and their opinions on the state of Hollywood, click here.The reality is you can look at YouTube and traditional media, and say they’re both video; they’re really the same. And there are things about them that are the same. But being online and in short format enables creators to express themselves in really different ways to a global audience. As traditional media begins to use YouTube in different...
Google’s 16th employee (the company operated out her garage for a time), Wojcicki hasn’t been content to let YouTube sit on its laurels as the largest video platform in the world. She has led the diversification of YouTube’s business model, which now encompasses a subscription live-TV channel package that will do battle with not only traditional pay TV but other so-called “skinny bundles” from DirecTV Now to Sling TV.
In 2016, Wojcicki launched the first slate of original programming for its subscription service, YouTube Red. While they initially built programming around YouTube’s homegrown and largely self-made stars, such as the live tour documentary “A Trip to Unicorn Island,” starring vlogger Lilly Singh, YouTube Red is also making strides toward more premium scripted content, like the upcoming TV-series version of the “Step Up” franchise.
This 48-year-old mother of five has had to contend with her share of challenges as well. Madison Avenue was up in arms in 2017 over YouTube’s placement of advertising next to objectionable videos, which the company moved quickly to redress. Then there was her diplomatic handling of dissent over YouTube policies, from video creators decrying the demonetization of their videos to music stars complaining their work wasn’t being monetized enough. Wojcicki has also gotten out front in the battle against extremists co-opting the platform to spread hateful propaganda.