🤩 YouTube has big plans for your TV
It's not hard to imagine how the video service is building its ecommerce basics.
👋 Welcome to FWIW by David Tvrdon, your weekly tech, media & audio digest.
In this edition
YouTube’s new ‘connect your TV to your phone’ feature
5 Insights on YouTube Shorts
The Economist has a really big podcast operation
YouTube wants you to ditch your remote and use something more powerful
YouTube is rolling out a new feature that more closely connects your phone to your TV. If you open the app while watching it on your smart TV you can connect the two and turn it into a companion for the TV. It will let you add comments, queue up next, like and subscribe.
At first, the product team wanted to push the smart TV app further, adding new features and controls.
But, early on, the team honed in on an interesting insight – over 80% of people said they use another digital device while watching TV.
So, why not use the device people are already holding in their hands to enrich the viewing experience?
This step is actually crucial for YouTube to become much more than just a place for viewing user-generated videos. Suddenly, the phone extends the capability of what you can accomplish, ie finishing a transaction.
YouTube acknowledged they are thinking of going further, as I just hinted, saying:
With this launch, your phone becomes your all-purpose, interactive device and unlocks the ability to do more in this space.
It’s not a new thought that a tech company is focusing on the living room. The war for dominance in the smart home has been ongoing since Amazon started shipping Echo devices by the million, followed quickly by Google and later by Apple and others.
YouTube is well positioned to make a good use of the coupling of your TV and your smartphone.
I wouldn’t be surprised if more interactive features came to the live viewing experience. Social networks have been building creator-focused monetisation features for live streams.
Not that YouTube hasn’t and it might in fact have better features, but not while watching on your TV, just on your mobile phone. Another reason why others will envy this augmentation and, if things go well, smart TV apps could get another boost.
It’s still in the early stages, we will have to see whether users actually adopt this new feature. But if they do, YouTube might just become king of your smart TV.
📲 Apple's upcoming iOS 16 features. Updates to notifications, Messages and Health apps are coming, new iPad multitasking and Apple is reportedly working on an always-on lock screen. [Bloomberg]
😲 A company called Looking Glass is trying to make holograms effortlessly portable. Block is a new image format that lets you peek inside a 3D scene, even if you’re viewing it on a normal flat screen. It’s built on web standards so you can view them in any modern web browser, much like a GIF or JPEG. Pretty insane, check it out. The “only” drawback is every Block is made from as many as 100 slices of a 3D scene, each slice a picture “shot” from a different perspective. So your device has to load those images while user is scrolling. [The Verge]
🤔 Google is combining Meet and Duo into a single app (Meet) for voice and video calls. [The Verge]
🤨 Dell announced a new 32-inch 4K videoconferencing monitor for the same price as Apple’s Studio Display ($1,599.99). The Dell monitor (U3223QZ) comes with a focus on videoconferencing, made clear by Dell’s built-in UltraSharp webcam with a 4K HDR Sony Starvis sensor that uses artificial intelligence to help keep you in the frame during a call (yep, just like Apple’s center stage feature). [The Verge]
🤦♂️ Elon Musk issued an ultimatum to Tesla executives to return to the office for at least 40 hours a week. [Bloomberg]
😶🌫️ Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Meta, is leaving the company. Zuckerberg named Javier Olivan, a longtime product executive who has overseen much of Facebook’s growth over the past decade, as Meta’s next chief operating officer. [NYT]
😳 Twitter is restructuring to focus on user growth and personalization, not Spaces, newsletters, and communities. [Bloomberg]
🤗 Here’s the best (legal) site for free e-books, music, and movies. [Fast Company]
🤓 5 Insights on YouTube Shorts. The Colin and Samir Show details how their experiments with Shorts drove more subscribers than their regular longform videos. Two interesting observations, one, if your Shorts video has a loop moment, people watch it more; two, if your Shorts video has a built-in conversion for subscriptions, it works better than just adding it casually at the end. [The Publish Press]
😵💫 Netflix’s password crack down in Peru, Chile and Costa Rica isn’t going great. Users are confused and some are cancelling their subscriptions. [Rest of World]
📺 A profile of Paramount, which owns streaming services including Pluto TV and Showtime in addition to Paramount+. With its different approach to Netflix and Disney+, the company seems doing fine and growing its flagship service nicely and producing high-grossing movies along the way (Top Gun: Maverick). Also, investor Warren Buffett amassed recently a $2.6bn stake in the company which counted as a vote of confidence. [NYT]
📝 Reuters Institute's Digital News Report 2022 will be launched on June 15th. [Reuters Institute]
🙌 A new report details various subscription models that keep in mind readers who can’t afford to pay full price. News publishers for Sweden, Spain and South Africa are creating more inclusive schemes. Be it cheaper subs for students, elderly or simply those without extra money. [Reuters Institute]
🗣 Ted Sarandos gave a very long interview. Main topics: Netflix’s stock drop, he’s backing Dave Chappelle and other stand up comedians working for the streamer and Hollywood overall. [NYT]
FROM THE FIX
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📈 The Economist has monthly more than 3 million podcast listeners, that’s more than double its print subscriber base. The UK-based publication is considering putting audio behinds its paywall, but is not rushing it as “shows pay for themselves with the advertising revenue they bring in”. The publication now employs approximately 30 staff exclusively on its podcast work (The Economist’s overall staff number is around 318). The Intelligence, its flagship podcast, gets approximately 350,000 downloads an episode. [Press Gazette]
😯 Acast launches podcast episode-level Conversational Targeting advertising capability. Conversational Targeting allows brands to target podcast conversations at individual episode level. [Acast]
🧐 The Joe Rogan Experience is hosted on Anchor. The most interesting news that came out for me from the hours-long outage of another Spotify-owned podcast hosting provider Megaphone. (BTW, Megaphone went down because of an expired SSL certificate.) [The Verge]
🎙 A big interview with Alex Cooper, the host and producer of the “Call Her Daddy” podcast, Spotify’s second biggest after Joe Rogan. [NYT]
🤫 White noise podcasts are more popular and make more money than you would have guessed. It’s an upcoming genre and some hosts are making solely on pre-roll ads (don’t want to disturb while listening) up to 5-figures a month. [Bloomberg]
😮 The video game market is consolidating and even a player like Electronic Arts is looking for a bigger home. The company has held potential acquisition talks with Disney, Apple, and other companies. [Kotaku]
❓ Poll: Where do you watch the most online videos (YouTube, Netflix, HBO Max…)?
Last poll results: Have you returned to the office yet? 37% have a hybrid working mode; 30% returned full time; 19% work from home only; 14% will quit if their employer makes them return to the office.
🙏 And big thanks to Celine Bijleveld who helped me edit this newsletter. You can follow her on Substack here.