To Take on HBO and Netflix, YouTube had to Rewire Itself

To Take on HBO and Netflix, YouTube had to Rewire Itself

To become a “destination” and keep mobile viewers hooked, YouTube realized it had to fix itself, from its development platform to its AI.

The war over our eyeballs is heating up, and that’s mostly a good thing for people who like to look at screens. Just as Meerkat, Periscope, and Snapchat elbow each other in a battle over appointment viewing, and digitally native companies like Netflix and Hulu duke it out over the future of TV and movies, an old-school competitor shows up and throws down a shiny new gauntlet: Last month, HBO Now launchedjust in time for cord-cutters to catch the debut of the new season of Game of Thrones. There’s never before been such an abundance of quality, readily accessible television fighting for our attention.

YouTube, however, has found itself in this new golden age of video with a serious handicap: While its overall viewership was growing, most of that growth was happening across the web at large, outside of its own site and apps. That made it harder to capture eyes and ad dollars, and to appeal to cherished mobile users. When Susan Wojcicki became CEO last year, she would continue efforts to transform the way it served ads and engaged with its creators, pouring money into certain channels and promoting them heavily.

But there was a more pressing, underlying issue for the video giant: The way it built and tested its code was rusty. The outdated pipes running beneath the world’s largest video site were making it trickier to build the kind of new features that could keep users watching more, rather than browsing over to, say, Netflix or Hulu.

“As a business, it’s kind of a vulnerable situation to be in,” says Cristos Goodrow, a director of engineering at YouTube. “We’re not building as strong of a relationship with viewers. We have very little leverage to try to make the experience better for users.”

So in 2012, the company undertook a massive, cross-department initiative to fix those problems. Code-named InnerTube, the project, which Google has not previously discussed, would tackle everything from its development platform to its machine learning algorithms, a retooling that would enable engineers and designers to more quickly test and craft a more engaging, addictive experience on more screens. “This is a change that we had to make if YouTube was going to continue as an important thing on the Internet,” says Goodrow of the ongoing InnerTube project. “We had to become a destination.” Read more here

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Suite of Free Tools

$0.45 USD - $4.00 USD

Note: The accepted formula that Auxiliary Mode Inc. uses to calculate the CPM range is $0.45 USD - $25.00 USD.

The range fluctuates this much because many factors come into play when calculating a CPM. Quality of traffic, source country, niche type of video, price of specific ads, adblock, the actual click rate, watch time and etc.

Cost per thousand (CPM) is a marketing term used to denote the price of 1,000 advertisement impressions on one webpage. If a website publisher charges $2.00CPM, that means an advertiser must pay $2.00 for every 1,000 impressions of its ad. The "M" in CPM represents the Roman numeral for 1,000.

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Estimated daily earnings

$0.00 - $0.00

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