Jordan Hoffner of YouTube keynoted NATPE’s LATV Fest today, sharing some insights on the site’s delicate shift into episodic programming. As director of content partnerships for YouTube, this definitely wasn’t Hoffner’s first trip down to LA, having inked numerous deals with Hollywood studios and other content creators.
Starting off with an update on the site’s ever-changing stats, he highlighted the now 20 hours of video uploaded every minute to site, making search ever-so-important in matching all those videos with people who want to watch them. In fact, YouTube now sits as the #2 search engine in the world, Hoffner boasted, right behind its parent company Google, where “search is religion.”
Sure, the Hulu question came up. He couldn’t help but acknowledge their competitor’s success at building an audience for longer-form shows, though did take a stab at Hulu’s lack of “videos from Iran, videos that bring people together.”
As Liz Gannes points out, the site hasn’t exactly been racking up the views for its longer-form content just yet. Full-length TV shows are averaging just 7,407.9 views per episode.
Addressing this, Hoffner said that they are only three months into the redesign, which includes the ‘shows’ roll-out. So far, only a handful of “web originals” have been added to the section as they figure out what exactly will go there. He also admitted that there are challenges with conflicting perspectives between Hollywood and online viewers.
“We struggle a little bit with how users search and find content versus how studios and partners realize the most value on it,” said Hoffner. “Media companies look at it in terms of windowing – a limited amount of time and then it comes down. We look at it like it should be about search.”
Hoffner also addressed the need to look at what’s working in terms of episodic shows on YouTube. Talking about indie series Fred, the site’s most subscribed channel, he noted the importance of regular a release schedule.
“Fred does about 7M stream per video, but he does it in a good way, he doesn’t do it randomly – he uploads every Thursday,” Hoffner pointed out.
When asked about YouTube’s plans to create its own original web series, Hoffner said “it’s not clear what the business is there – there could be issues with jeopardizing our neutral platform.” This seems to conflict a bit with the news of the William Morris deal to create content via the upcoming YouTube Gold project.