YouTube made a slew of announcements today via the debut installment of a new blog series helmed by chief product officer Neal Mohan (pictured above) that will cover technology updates and product development drops — chief among them a U.S. expansion of its TikTok competitor, Shorts, as well as new monetization features.
Mohan also previewed other YouTube product updates that are slated for 2020.
For its linear YouTube TV service, for instance, YouTube is introducing a new add-on package that will allow subscribers to purchase 4K quality streaming, the ability to download shows to DVR for offline viewing, and unlimited concurrent streams at home (standard subscriptions currently tout a three-screen limit). YouTube TV currently counts 3 million paid subscribers and offers more than 85 different channels, priced at $65 per month. YouTube didn’t share pricing details or a release date for the forthcoming package.
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On the YouTube Kids front, YouTube confirmed that its six-year-old, standalone, kid-friendly app has now amassed 35 million weekly viewers in 80 countries. In coming months, Mohan said it would roll out an option enabling parents to whitelist specific videos and channels from the flagship YouTube app to enable their children to consume inside YouTube Kids.
And finally, YouTube is broadening the reach of its Chapters feature — a tool it began testing last April and fully rolled out the following May that enables easier navigation on lengthier videos by breaking them up into clickable sections. YouTube says that Chapters have been enormously popular, and are currently being added to more than 20,000 videos per day. Chapters were previously triggered using creator-supplied timestamps in description boxes, though now YouTube says they will automatically be added to relevant videos, using machine learning that looks at video metadata. Creators will be able to opt out of chapters if they so choose.
You can check out Mohan’s first blog post, which also hints at a redesign of the YouTube VR app homepage and its intention to make user-created YouTube Music playlists more discoverable to others on the platform, right here.