YouTube content chief says growth accelerating despite increased competition from Facebook

The head of YouTube content says that Google's Web video service has seen its growth accelerate despite the rise of competition from Facebook and others.

Speaking Wednesday at the Code/Media conference at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, Calif., Robert Kyncl said YouTube is trying new tactics to better reward its best content creators. Kyncl pointed in particular to a three-month-old effort, Google Preferred, which allows those video makers to use ads that can't be skipped to drive higher revenue.

Those taking part in the program are seeing revenue grow at a 70 percent annual rate, as opposed to the 50 percent rate being seen by YouTube as a whole. "It's been quite successful," Kyncl said.

YouTube will open the program to 11 new markets this year, and wants to take it worldwide, Kyncl said. The company is working on other efforts that might see an increased ad load for some content. However, Kyncl said, that is a tricky proposition.

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"You want to make sure you don't do it at the expense of the viewer," he said.

YouTube's efforts comes as other sites are looking to lure top talent to create video for their sites.

Re/code’s Peter Kafka talks with screenwriter John August and Ze Frank, president of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, onstage at Code/Media.
Asa Mathat | Re/code
Re/code’s Peter Kafka talks with screenwriter John August and Ze Frank, president of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, onstage at Code/Media.

"What we are seeing now is a marketplace really start to develop for this talent," said United Talent Agency CEO Jeremy Zimmer, who joined Kyncl onstage. Zimmer noted that he recently sold a video project to Snapchat, pairing a content creator he represents with an advertiser.

Sure, Snapchat is ephemeral, he said. But, he added: "My 14-year-old spends half her life there."

Facebook, meanwhile, is showing signs of increased interest in video.

"I think there is a big opportunity on Facebook because they have a massive audience, and people like and trust it," Zimmer said. "They have to figure out what they want to do."

Then there are Netflix and Amazon producing more traditional video content, Zimmer said, adding, "God knows what will happen with Yahoo."

One of the big things still lacking, Zimmer said, is the right kind of analytics to help make the right decisions when it comes to which platform to choose.

Kyncl, for his part, says there is room for several big players in digital video to grow without YouTube having to cede ground.

"There are only a couple of companies that are growing as fast as we are at the scale we are," he said. "We expected a deceleration of the business and it is actually accelerating."

For additional coverage of Code/Media, visit Re/code.

By Ina Fried, Re/code.net.

CNBC's parent NBC Universal is an investor in Re/code's parent Revere Digital, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.