YouTube Chief Talks Children, Mobile and Competition With Facebook
- Ver Original
- Julho 13º, 2015
“Mobile. Mobile. Mobile.”
That was how Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s chief executive, described the video site’s top three priorities when speaking at Fortune’s annual Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo., on Monday. Today, a majority of YouTube’s views are made via smartphones or tablets instead of desktop computers, and since that shift is likely to continue as people spend more time on mobile phones, that’s where the company is spending its time and money.
“A lot of our focus is on how we continue to make that better. What are the UI” — user interface — “experiences, what are the creation experiences, how do we make it really fast?” Ms. Wojcicki said. “I think mobile is changing everything and it will continue to change it more in the future.”
Ms. Wojcicki was a featured speaker as YouTube has become an important driver for Google at a time when its traditional search business is showing signs of slower growth. How important is hard to know: The company does not break out YouTube’s results, so aside from the planned superlatives that Ms. Wojcicki drops at sales conferences and events like Brainstorm Tech, the world is left to guess.
The video site reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds on mobile alone than any cable network, Ms. Wojcicki said at an advertiser event in April. The amount of time people spend watching YouTube is “hundreds of millions of hours,” she added at Fortune’s three-day event, which started Monday. But the company’s overall revenue – which analysts believe will be around $6 billion this year – remains a closely guarded secret.
While YouTube has a massive head start in online video, it is now facing growing competition from Facebook and others. Asked about this, Ms. Wojcicki suggested that if people continue to spend more time with their devices and less time with their televisions, there should be plenty of space for all of them to build significant businesses.
Americans spend more than four hours a day watching television on average. Video and TV ad dollars total $150 billion a year, and $250 billion in subscriptions, she said.
“This is a big market and I think Facebook and Twitter and everybody else has recognized this is a big opportunity and they are coming into the market,” she said. “And I don’t think that’s a surprise because of the size of the opportunity and really the movement from traditional to online is really what I think is the most important move.”
Even with increased competition and more than one billion users, Ms. Wojcicki said, YouTube continues to grow, and quickly. The amount of time people spending watching YouTube has grown more than 50 percent year over year, she said.
“You have this gigantic base of users and it’s still growing at the rate that it’s growing — and we’re actually seeing acceleration,” she said. “So I feel like we still have a very significant opportunity ahead.”
Asked if YouTube might be interested in acquisitions, including a large one, Ms. Wojcicki replied: “There is a lot of hard work we need to do, but if there is a company that helps us get to our strategy faster or acquire users that we don’t have, then we will buy a company.”
Adam Lashinsky, a Fortune writer who interviewed Ms. Wojcicki at the event, asked her if she wished that Google had broken out the site’s results. “I mean it might make my life easier because everyone is always trying to guess what the numbers are,” she answered, but did not go further.
Ms. Wojcicki, who was Google’s 16th employee, began her Aspen interview as she seems to begin every interview: by answering how she manages to be a successful executive while rearing five children.
“ ‘You’re pretty busy’ is maybe the short answer,” she said. “I love kids, I love work and I think at some level I just love creating things and building. And like kids are very rewarding projects. Building companies is rewarding too and I enjoy doing both.”
Ms. Wojcicki added that she associates each of her children with different stages of Google’s growth. She joined Google pregnant with her first child. Her second child arrived when she decided to work on Google’s ad business.
No. 3 came when Google started moving deeper into content. Her fourth is the “DoubleClick baby” because the company acquired DoubleClick right when she was born. No. 5 is definitely “the YouTube baby.”
“I think I’m going to have to find a way to move my career forward without having children,” Ms. Wojcicki joked.
Mr. Lashinsky later interviewed Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, and his brother, Ari Emanuel, the chief executive of William Morris Endeavor. At the conclusion, Rahm Emanuel needled Mr. Lashinsky for his interview of Ms. Wojcicki, noting that he asked immediately about her children but had neglected to ask either of the two men about their families.