Google executive Susan Wojcicki has taken over as head of the search giant’s well-known video site YouTube, in what many commentators are seeing as precedent for a more pronounced move towards actively monetising the business. “It’s one of the biggest traffic sources on the Internet, so it makes sense to want to try to monetise the best they can,” says Kerry Rice, an analyst at Needham & Co.
Wojcicki has been with Google since the company was first incorporated, most recently holding the title of senior vice president of Ads and Commerce. In an official statement, Google’s chief executive Larry Page said: “Like Salar [Kamangar, her predecessor], Susan has a healthy disregard for the impossible and is excited about improving YouTube in ways that people will love.”
A tight lid is kept on any and all official figures, but it is estimated that YouTube has earned billions in advertising revenue. The increased popularity of the streaming model over music downloads has also proved surprisingly lucrative; recently, a YouTube executive revealed that the site had paid $1 billion in royalties to the music industry. “YouTube income keeps going up,” entertainment attorney Josh Grier told Rolling Stone this week. “It has gone up every single accounting period.”
But music isn’t the only source of revenue that YouTube has set its sights on; much more original programming is in the pipeline too. According to Alexei Oreskovic at The Huffington Post, “YouTube is moving to add professional-grade video programs to the vast archive of amateur, home-shot videos as it seeks to attract a bigger slice of the estimated $70 billion in spending on U.S. television ads.”
Lauren Hockenson at gigaom.com believes that Susan Wojcicki’s effective immediately appointment as head honcho at YouTube will play a big part in the coming changes: “Wojcicki’s strong leadership at Google Ads, and her success in that department, may grow YouTube’s prospects and profits in the long term.”