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CES: YouTube and the Upcoming Revolution

CNBC.com

CES is all about connected devices designed for watching and sharing content.

So this morning YouTube's VP of Global Content Robert Kyncl, took the stage to talk about the revolution in "channels" that transforms the medium in the same way--or more so-- than the advent of hundreds of cable channels changed TV.

The future of TV is niche, and will come through broadband pipes, not the airwaves, according to Kyncl. He's overseeing Google's launch of 100 new content channels, which can serve a huge audience interested in focused content. He projects that by 2012, 75 percent of all channels will be over the Internet, and "channels" will be far less reliant on traditional Hollywood: the new platform is democratizing a previously closed system. He gave the example of Michelle Pham, who started sharing video on YouTube. Now she's reached twice the audience of the Style network and has snagged a Lancome sponsorship.

Allen DeBevoise, CEO of Machinima, a YouTube channel which regularly snags more viewers than cable TV, said that this digital world has a few fundamental difference. First, channels are instantly global, and massive. A billion devices in the US alone can play video. And there's instantaneous direct response and potential to understand how customers are watching, to generate higher click-through rates.

CSI creator, Anthony Zuiker, who is creating a new YouTube channel summed up the digital video transition by saying that while TV is about absorption, YouTube is interactive. Consumers are used to interacting, whether through sharing YouTube clips or connecting with friends on Facebook. "Now content is catching up with behaviors," Zuiker said. YouTube's channels are rolling out this year-- we'll see how targeting and interactivity change the content itself, and which of these new options become eyeball-grabbing hits.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.