Video streaming platforms are increasingly taking the place of traditional TV. And for YouTube, the two worlds are literally converging into one. In an annual letter published today (Feb. 6), YouTube CEO Neal Mohan said users today are “watching YouTube the way we used to sit down together for traditional TV shows—on the biggest screen in the home with friends and family.”
“Viewers want everything in one place, from a live sports game to the BBC to Khan Academy and NikkieTutorials,” Mohan wrote. Globally, more than one billion viewers watch YouTube on their TV screen, according to Mohan. He also cited Nielsen’s report on streaming in the U.S., which shows that YouTube beat Netflix in TV streaming 11 out of 12 months in 2023.
YouTube TV, which is YouTube’s live TV service, currently has 8 million subscribers, Mohan said. YouTube subscriber growth is a bright spot in Alphabet (GOOGL)’s latest quarterly earnings report. The video platform’s premium and music streaming services surpassed 100 million subscribers in the quarter ended December. On a call with analysts on Jan. 30, Alphabet and Google (GOOGL) CEO Sundar Pichai said YouTube is now the main driver of subscription growth for the company.
Mohan also emphasized in the letter that the “stark divide is gone” between content from creators and content from the major studios. “They’re redefining the future of the entertainment industry with top-notch storytelling that can’t be dismissed as simply “user-generated content,” Mohan said about content creators.
YouTube is a leader in revenue sharing with creators. Top creators on the platform, such as MrBeast, who has 225 million subscribers, recently vocalized his hesitancy to upload his videos to competing platforms due to low creator pay. Over the last three years, YouTube’s partner program paid out $70 billion to creators, artists and media companies, the highest of any social media platforms.
Mohan also made sure to address child safety in his annual letter, after social media CEOs Meta (META)’s Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress about the issue last week. Mohan said YouTube is trying to keep children safe on the platform by working with mental health experts. The video platform is also tackling A.I. deepfakes and misinformation through updating its policies on inauthentic content and introducing a labeling system to identify it.
“Our business as a streaming service relies not just on engagement, but on giving viewers and advertisers confidence that they can count on us to deliver high quality content,” Mohan wrote. “Protecting the creator economy is foundational to everything we do, and it’s good for business.”