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CES 2012: YouTube Keynote—Plenty of Passion, No Announcements

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LAS VEGAS—Presenting the keynote address for the CES Entertainment Matters program, which highlights the convergence of entertainment and technology, YouTube’s vice president of global content Robert Kyncl spoke of the company’s remarkable growth.

Showing YouTube’s ability to turn dreamers into stars, Kyncl told the story of Michelle Phan, who followed her passion and created a beauty and makeup channel on YouTube. That channel is now one of YouTube’s most popular, Kyncl related, and led to Phan getting a Lancôme sponsorship. Phan’s channel gets twice the viewers per episode as a Style Channel program, Kyncl said, noting that YouTube’s top channels would rank in the top 20 of television channels.

Kyncl’s presentation was largely a look back at how YouTube has grown and changed the industry. From a world with four television channels in the 1970s, viewers now have nearly endless viewing options on TV and online.

“This is all possible because a closed system is now opening up,” said Kyncl.

YouTube Keynote

The rise of mobile devices has spread the growth of YouTube, Kyncl said, as has social network sharing. Looking to future growth, he said that television manufacturers will ship 500 million smart TVs in 2012.

Kyncl noted that Netflix streaming, Hulu, and March Madness online didn’t exist only five years ago.

“Life was pretty boring,” Kyncl joked.

Today, YouTube counts 800 million users, collectively watching 3 billion hours of online video each month. That’s 30 minutes for every human on earth, he said.

“The time to join us is now,” Kyncl said in closing. “Come and play.”

The keynote finished with a panel of entertainment and advertising heavyweights, including Anthony Zuiker, creator of the CSI franchise, who spoke about how online viewing was shaping their work.

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