OTTs can’t survive without carriers, infers YouTube co-founder

02 July 2019 | Laurence Doe

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Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube, explained how the video sharing platform has revolutionised content creation to a packed ITW audience during the opening keynote on June 23.

Chen, who was YouTube’s chief technology officer when Google acquired it for $1.65 billion in 2006, was interviewed by Sam Evans, partner of telecoms advisory and investment firm Delta Partners.

The discussion focused on how YouTube developed into what it is today, with 1 billion hours of video being watched every 24 hours, and what issues face the online video landscape.

Chen highlighted key moments in YouTube’s history that built up its importance as a content creation platform. Its big break came with a Ronaldinho Nike football ad, which became viral and was the first video to hit 1 million views. The platform has also catapulted people such as Justin Bieber into superstars.

Explaining how networks need to evolve for increasing data demands from platforms and subscribers, Chen said: “Everybody understands that companies such as YouTube, Google, Netflix, and Uber cannot exist without the underlying infrastructure.

“There are discussions about network neutrality, maybe that’s the solution, but there are also potential new alliance opportunities between the parties, subscribers, users, the content creators and the networks themselves.

”With an average of 400 hours of video uploaded every minute, Chen made it clear that the stance of YouTube and Google was that net neutrality should remain “because we want any piece of content uploaded anywhere in the world to be consumed in its highest resolution and audio quality as can be”.

Chen told Evans and ITW delegates that regulating content standards should not be controlled solely by carriers but also over-the-top (OTT) players, emphasising that “without one, the other can’t exist”.

“Some creativity should go into forging some kind of positive relationship between the two in order to create something that works for both parties. It’s a matter of both sides wanting that to happen and coming up with that solution.”

Chen also features in an ITW article about the future of content and the important relationship between carriers and OTTs.