Alphabet just had its 2018 Q1 earnings call, but YouTube Red was barely mentioned. Could this be a sign that the company is distancing itself from the product?
Despite YouTube Red having been a high area of focus for the company in the past, the service barely received a mention on Alphabet’s Q1 2018 earnings call today. Aside from Google CEO Sindar Pichai saying the company will continue “invest further” in the service, nothing else was mentioned. While the snub doesn’t completely rule out the future of the SVOD service, it’s not a good sign when a company completely neglects mentioning a service that it has poured time and effort in. And this lack of mention is not new. In Alphabet’s Q4 2017 earnings call, the service wasn’t part of the scheduled conversation either.
This lack of mention could be a sign of things to come for the service, which has yet to really “take off” since launching in 2015. While the company has invested in developing a range of content from a Jake Paul Talk Show to a “Karate Kid” reboot, it has kept its spending on content at a minimum. Recently it was reported by Bloomberg that YouTube was hitting the pause button on its Hollywood expansion. According to the publication, Google has decided to hold spending at current levels for the streaming service over the next two years, people with knowledge of the matter said. YouTube only plans to spend a few hundred million dollars on TV shows and movies this year, according to the sources. While that sounds like a lot, as Bloomberg noted, a flat budget means the company risks falling further behind Netflix, Amazon and Facebook.
To make the case of YouTube Red more confusing, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki recently referred to it as a music service, leaving many to ask the question: What’s going on with YouTube Red?
While the current state of Youtube Red is a bit hazy, regular old YouTube continues to be a key revenue driver for the company, according to Pichai, who also said that over the last year, channels earning six figures on the platform grew by 40%.
Going forward Pichai says the company will continue to invest in live content, which has worked well for the service. The CEO noted that Beyonce’s performance at Coachella was one of the most viewed live performances on the service.
Despite the company once again being in the spotlight this week for placing ads against inappropriate content, the issues weren’t directly mentioned in today’s earning call. But the Google CEO boasted that in Q4 of last year, over 6 million videos deemed inappropriate were removed from YouTube– 75% of which were taken down before getting a single view.
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