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Susan Wojcicki: Media Companies Must Learn the Art of Programming Content Online

Susan Wojcicki: Media Companies Must Learn

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 ways, it’s time for creators to embrace that format to complement the businesses they’re in.

There’s a lot of interactivity on YouTube. The creators speak out to the audiences, and the audiences speak back to the creators. And the creators incorporate feedback they are getting in ways they really weren’t able to before, because the (production) cycle is so short now. There are comments and shares, so the audience can participate in ways it couldn’t in the past. In their videos, some creators even credit users for sparking the idea for a given show.

Because YouTube is a different medium, it’s complementary to television. The creators who are on TV or doing films have really begun to reach out to the platform to do short-form content and have users participate in their shows.

Think of what Jimmy Kimmel has done with segments like “I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy” and “I Gave My Kids a Terrible Present.” There’s a call to action on the television shows to upload videos, and they get pretty impressive numbers.

There’s also the ability for traditional media content to be used by fans to re-create that content, as Disney saw with “Frozen.” Disney’s acquisition of Maker Studios this year is a recognition that there’s a different kind of platform to use all this content. There are so many ways that content from traditional media can have a shortform component that enables the two formats to communicate with each other, whether it’s promotions, highlights, behind the scenes, interviews.

Now that we have these creators who have established so many ways of using the platform successfully, we’ll continue to see new adoption. It’s a great opportunity for more traditional formats to embrace the Internet.