Category Archives: YouTube Blog

The Official YouTube Blog

One billion captioned videos

I envision a future where everything will be captioned, so the more than 300 million people who are deaf or hard of hearing like me will be able to enjoy videos like everyone else. When I was growing up in Costa Rica, there were no closed captions in my first language, and only English movies had Spanish subtitles. I felt I was missing out because I often had to guess at what was happening on the screen or make up my own version of the story in my head. That was where the dream of a system that could just automatically generate high quality captions for any video was born.

Today I am lucky to be making my dream a reality as part of a team at YouTube exploring innovative ways to make captions more available for everyone. Over the years we have made great strides both in terms of the numbers of videos with captions and also in the accuracy of those captions.

Google first launched video captions back in 2006. Three years later these efforts were taken to a whole new level with automated captions on YouTube. This was a big leap forward to help us keep up with YouTube’s growing scale. Fast forward to today, and the number of videos with automatic captions now exceeds a staggering 1 billion. Moreover, people watch video with automatic captions more than 15 million times per day.

One of the ways that we were able to scale the availability of captions was by combining Google's automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology with the YouTube caption system to offer automatic captions for videos. There were limitations with the technology that underscored the need to improve the captions themselves. Results were sometimes less than perfect, prompting some creators to have a little fun at our expense!

A major goal for the team has been improving the accuracy of automatic captions -- something that is not easy to do for a platform of YouTube’s size and diversity of content. Key to the success of this endeavor was improving our speech recognition, machine learning algorithms, and expanding our training data. All together, those technological efforts have resulted in a 50 percent leap in accuracy for automatic captions in English, which is getting us closer and closer to human transcription error rates.

Automatic captions example from our previous model
Automatic captions example from our current model

Continuing to improve the accuracy of captions remains an important goal going forward, as does the need to keep growing beyond 1 billion automatic captions. We also want to extend that work to all of our ten supported languages. But we can’t do it alone. We count on the amazing YouTube community of creators and viewers everywhere. Ideally, every video would have an automatic caption track generated by our system and then reviewed and edited by the creator. With the improvements we’ve made to the automated speech recognition, this is now easier than ever.

I know from firsthand experience that if you build with accessibility as a guiding force, you make technology work for everyone.

Liat Kever, product manager, recently watched "27 Things You Might Not Know about Star Wars - mental_floss List Show Ep. 450" with automatic caption track.

Source: YouTube Blog


YouTube Kids turns 2 and there’s lots to celebrate!

Since launching two years ago, YouTube Kids has grown up a lot and become a go-to destination for families around the world. With over 30 billion views in the app to date and over 8 million active viewers enjoying the app each week, it’s been exciting to see kids fall in love with the storytelling and videos from our amazing global creators. From DIY tutorials and language learning to science experiments, magic tricks and animated shows, there truly is something for every family to explore!

Our Original Content team under Susanne Daniels is adding four new Original series to YouTube Red, created especially with the YouTube Kids app in mind. These new series will feature top creators: DanTDM , Joe and Cody of TheAtlanticCraft, popular tween music act L2M, and Fruit Ninja. This marks the first time YouTube Red has invested in creators who are producing original programming for family audiences. These series will debut starting in the spring. Additional shows are in development and will premiere throughout 2017.

The first of the new original series launching starting this spring include:
  • Hyperlinked: This series is inspired by a true story and stars music sensation L2M. It follows five girls as they come together to create their own website by girls for girls. They also must navigate everyday tween issues involving friends and relationships.
  • DanTDM Creates A Big Scene: Catch DanTDM and his lively group of animated friends as they battle mayhem and misadventure to keep their brand new live show on the road. Each episode follows their behind-the-scenes exploits as they learn new skills, overcome challenges and find that putting on an epic show isn’t quite as easy as it looks. …
  • The Kings of Atlantis: “The Kings of Atlantis” is an epic animated series that follows two young monarchs —Cody and Joe— in the vast underwater city of Atlantis as they seek to overthrow the brutal usurper of their kingdom, reclaim their birthright, and protect their people from his cruel reign.
  • Fruit Ninja: Frenzy Force: Four Fruit Ninjas set up a juice stand as a front for the messiest secret service in the world. The new Fruit Ninja characters—Seb, Niya, Peng and Ralph—come together to fight the evil forces of Durian Grey and the Deep Fried Samurai. They will use their Juice Jitsu skills (and perhaps some help from their own samurai) to prevail.




But the fun doesn’t stop there ... YouTube Kids is coming soon to Smart TVs. Parents and kids often enjoy watching their favorite family programming on a big screen, so it's a natural next step for the app to be available directly from the big screen in your home! The YouTube Kids app will be available soon for download on a number of internet-connected LG and Samsung Smart TVs.

As kids continue to grow up, we’re excited to grow up with them. It’s important that kids are able to explore what they love in the app, while we also continue to put parents in the driver’s seat to choose what is right for their family.

From engaging new shows to being able to watch in your living room, our 2nd birthday is shaping up to be a memorable one. We’re looking forward to all the other new things 2017 will bring. From our screen to yours. ...

Malik Ducard, YouTube’s Global Head of Family and Learning, recently watched “A Pep Talk from Kid President.”

Source: YouTube Blog


Mobile Live Streaming + Super Chat = Live (Streaming) the Dream

A huge focus for us here at YouTube is to find new ways to let creators and viewers interact with each other and the videos they watch. And that's why we’ve supported live streaming since, well, before Beyoncé even had a baby – way back in 2011! And in 2016, we witnessed the most-viewed political live streams of all time – the 2016 U.S. presidential debates – and we launched the world’s first 360-degree live streaming support with full 4K video, at scale and for free.

So what’s next? The roll out of our new mobile live streaming feature to every creator with more than 10,000 subscribers (the rest of you will have it soon!). It’s a launch that’ll put the power of live streaming in the hands of hundreds of thousands of talented creators, giving them a more intimate and spontaneous way to share their thoughts, lives, and creativity.



Mobile live streaming has been built directly into the YouTube mobile app. All you have to do to start streaming is open YouTube, hit the capture button, and you’re live! Streamed videos will have all the same features as regular YouTube videos. They can be searched for, found via recommendations or playlists, and protected from unauthorized use. Our mobile live streaming uses YouTube’s rock-solid infrastructure, meaning it’ll be fast and reliable, just the YouTube you know and love. And we’ve been working hand-in-hand with hundreds of creators to refine the mobile streaming experience while they stream from a boat or take live calls from their fans. Based on their feedback, we did things like slowing down live chat (it turns out receiving 2,000 messages per second is a little too fast!) and pushing for better streaming quality across devices.

Show me the money

To help creators earn revenue from live streaming, we’re also excited to launch Super Chat, a new live stream monetization tool available to creators in more than 20 countries (and viewers in more than 40 countries). Super Chat is like paying for that front-row seat in the digital age: it lets any fan watching a live stream stand out from the crowd and get a creator’s attention by purchasing chat messages that are highlighted in bright colors and stay pinned to the top of the chat window for up to five hours. Super Chat gives viewers a chance to add a little visual flair to their chats and gives creators a new way to keep connected to their fans while earning a little money on the side, let’s say for example, while shopping at Target or playing video games :)

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Stream you soon. :-)

Product Managers Barbara Macdonald, recently streamed a horror game, and Kurt Wilms, recently watched "Bored at Target."

Source: YouTube Blog


Overtime? Game Day ads are still in play on YouTube

The confetti has hit the field. We all went Gaga. The Pats have come out victorious.

While you may not have seen that coming, we’ve seen our highest ever watch time during the game, with more than 350K hours spent watching Big Game ads, marking over 15 percent year-over year-growth. If your Game Day party was anything like ours, mobile also played a huge role - 70 percent of this watch time came from mobile devices. And this is just the beginning.

Historically, the day after the Big Game kicks off several weeks of watching and re-watching Big Game ads, so make sure you check out the tenth anniversary of the YouTube AdBlitz channel and vote for your favorite by February 10 at midnight PT.

We’re already starting to see some early favorites. Some with a fresh take on iconic characters, others that introduced new heroes. But the undeniable theme of the night was ads that connected to social and political topics -- in fact, these ads accounted for nearly half of the watch time on Game Day.

Here are the top ten ads so far (based on Game Day views as of 2/6 at 2 a.m. ET):

  1. Budweiser - Budweiser 2017 Super Bowl Commercial | “Born The Hard Way”
  2. Bud Light - Ghost Spuds | Bud Light Super Bowl Commercial 2017 feat. Spuds MacKenzie
  3. Hyundai - A Better Super Bowl | NFL Hyundai Super Bowl LI
  4. Kia - 2017 Kia Niro | “Hero’s Journey” Starring Melissa McCarthy
  5. T-Mobile - T-Mobile | #UnlimitedMoves with Justin Bieber | T-Mobile Commercial
  6. Tide - Tide | Super Bowl Commercial 2017 with Terry Bradshaw
  7. 84 Lumber - 84 Lumber Super Bowl Commercial - The Entire Journey
  8. Netflix - "Stranger Things 2" - Super Bowl 2017 Ad
  9. Audi - Audi #DriveProgress Big Game Commercial – “Daughter”
  10. Mr. Clean - Mr. Clean | New Super Bowl Ad | Cleaner of Your Dreams

Interest in commercials didn’t stop at YouTube either. Of the top trending Google Search questions during the game, three were about the ads:

  1. How old is Lady Gaga?
  2. How does overtime work in NFL?
  3. Who owns Alfa Romeo?
  4. What is 84 Lumber?
  5. How many “Pirates of the Caribbean” are there?


The Big Game may have been called, but the battle for top ad is still in play. Check back next week to find out this year’s winner of YouTube AdBlitz!

Deborah Powsner, YouTube Ads Marketing, recently watched Patriots vs. Falcons | Super Bowl LI Game Highlights.

Source: YouTube Blog


How one family used YouTube to build a home and rebuild their lives

In December 2007, Cara Brookins was a 36-year-old computer programmer working full- time and taking care of her four young kids (ages 2, 11, 15, 17). From the outside, she looked like any other mom but personally she had just closed the door on an unsafe marriage and was preparing to rebuild her life.

After buying an acre of land in Bryant, Ark. and taking out a $150k loan, Cara and her four kids did something amazing … they rolled up their sleeves and started building their own home with the help of YouTube videos. The videos they watched on YouTube equipped them with the information they needed to make their big dream a reality. They watched videos to learn everything from how to build a solid foundation and construct countertops to even how to do their own plumbing. By September 2008--after nine months of working 20-hour days--Cara and her kids had finished their dream home. We spoke with Cara about finding hope, the power of YouTube, and why she chose to share her story:

Q: Take us back to the moment you decided to build your own house … what sparked the idea initially?
Cara: I had left a domestic violence situation with my four kids and we were really emotionally destroyed. All the advice I found for improving my life talked about baby steps and small goals. I couldn’t see how just resolving to get dressed in the morning was going to get me anywhere. We needed a safe place to live, and I was determined to do something big. So building a house felt like the most natural solution in the world.

Q: Why did you turn to YouTube?
Cara: We had always had a DIY mindset and we’d used YouTube to make our own jewelry and art projects. So we instantly focused on YouTube as the place to also learn how to set a foundation block or how to frame a window. I also researched energy efficient building ideas on YouTube. YouTube was really our go-to destination for the information we needed throughout the process.

Q: How did your family react when you told them what you were planning to do?
Cara: My parents thought I was absolutely nuts. They tried to talk me out of it and that shocked me. It seemed like such an obvious and perfect solution. Of course once they saw I was going to build it anyhow—yes, they already knew I was a very stubborn girl—they supported me in every way, even showing up on the job site to work.

Q: How did you and your family use YouTube throughout the process?
Cara: We used multiple videos for each project to learn multiple ways to do each thing, like frame a window or run a sewer line. And we tried to understand why each thing was done a certain way rather than just how to do it. Because we were watching at home on a computer (no smartphones!) and would have to remember everything to make it work the next day on the job site.





Q: Was there ever a point where you looked at the construction around you and thought “what have I gotten myself into?!”
Cara: From the day we broke ground, I thought this every single day until we moved in! It was an overwhelming number of decisions and amount of work. But I was the only adult to pull all the kids together and I had to play it confident and cool the whole time. I had to make the decisions and plans and then be the cheerleader. It was emotionally exhausting, but of course incredibly rewarding too.





Q: For anyone out there who may want to learn how to do something but doesn't know where to start or thinks they can't do it, what would you tell them?
Cara: Never stop with the phrase, “I don’t know how to do that.” Always add, “YET!” There are no limits to what you can accomplish if you truly want it. And of course that’s because if you want it badly enough you’ll put in a solid effort and endless hours of hard work. Approach each project with steady determination. I was a small computer programmer and an author. If I can build a house with my kids, there is no limit to what other people might accomplish.

Q: Why did you decide to write a book about your journey and what do you hope people take from reading it?
Cara: I never intended to write a book about the house when we were building it. I was pretty ashamed that my decisions had put us in this place, where our sanest option was to build our own shelter. Fiction writing was my big focus at the time. But after we finished, I knew I had to tell our story, not because I wanted other people to look at what we’d done but because I wanted them to imagine the big things they could build with their life. It took me six years to figure out how to write the book in the right away. I had dozens of versions before “Rise” sold. Even then there was a big fear over how people would react and what they would focus on in the story. It’s such a vulnerable time of our lives to share. But we’ve had so much support from across the entire world, and best of all the message people are receiving is that they really can do anything they dream of if they put in enough hard work.

Q: How did this experience impact your kids and your family?
Cara: My kids were so weak and small when we started this project. All our energy went toward survival with no energy left for setting goals or dreaming of a big future. After we built the house we each came away with the sense that absolutely anything was possible. Our dreams are ridiculous, crazy things and we don’t doubt for one second that we’ll achieve them.

Source: YouTube Blog


Celebrating ten years of Big Game ads on YouTube

Every year, a few Big Game ads stand out from the pack and keep us smiling long after the last play … like your daughter’s first date, that time Liam Neeson wanted revenge, or the year we met whatever this is.

Today, we’re kicking off YouTube AdBlitz for the tenth time, a destination where you can come watch and vote for all your favorite Big Game ads.

To continue to spotlight excellence as part of our AdBlitz program, we've made two key changes. First, in addition to our main list of AdBlitz winners, we'll be recognizing top performers in individual categories, like automotive and food & beverage. Second, we've seen more and more traditional in-game advertisers choose to launch ads around the Big Game versus during the actual broadcast. This year, these spots will also be eligible to compete in AdBlitz.

In honor of AdBlitz's ten-year anniversary, we’re also taking a look back at the top 20 Big Game ads from the past nine years that have stood the test of time. Collectively, these ads have racked up more than 440M minutes of watchtime along the way.

Of course as much as we love Big Game ads, they also represent just one slice of all the football-related content people watch on YouTube. Overall, watchtime for football-related content has grown over 90 percent year-over-year.1 Given this huge interest, it’s no surprise that the NFL’s YouTube channel, which they unveiled two years ago, just passed the 1 billion views mark, a huge achievement.

In looking at the ads that made our top 20 list, we noticed a few things.

The ad your ad could smell like: Iconic ads continue to thrive on YouTube long past their initial release. Some of the most memorable ads from previous years, like Old Spice's “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” (2010), Ram Trucks’ "Farmer" (2013) and GoPro and Red Bull’s “Red Bull Stratos - The Full Story” (2014) collectively garnered over 5M views in 2016, years after their original airing. And combined, these ads have driven over 92.5M lifetime views.

Advertisers use the force … of uploading early. Advertisers that upload early do better overall. The share of Big Game ads released on YouTube before game day grew over 200 percent from 2008 to 2016, due to a combination of more advertisers releasing their television spots early on YouTube as well the growing popularity of teasers. Among YouTube's Top 20 ranking, 90 percent of the ads listed were released on YouTube before the Super Bowl that year, including Volkswagen’s “The Force” and Budweiser’s “Puppy Love.”

Pokemon goes global: Just as the Big Game has become a global moment, so have the ads. Outside the U.S., Super Bowl ad viewership on YouTube has grown over 28x since 2008. In 2016, the three countries outside the U.S. that watched the most Super Bowl ads on YouTube are Canada, the United Kingdom and Russia. Some of the most popular Super Bowl ads internationally included: Pokemon’s “#Pokemon20: Pokémon Super Bowl Commercial,” Coca-Cola’s “Coke Mini (Hulk vs. Ant-Man),” and Heinz’s “Wiener Stampede - Extended Cut.”

Our full AdBlitz 10-Year Anniversary report is here along with the full list of the top 20 ads of the past nine years. We encourage you to take a look and come up with your own insights. And of course check back with AdBlitz before, during, and after the Big Game to see and vote for this year’s additions to the catalog of iconic Big Game ads.

Tara Walpert Levy, Vice President of Agency & Media Solutions, recently watched “NFL 2016: Part One” -- A Bad Lip Reading of the NFL.”

1YouTube Data, U.S. Classification as American Football video was based on public data such as headlines, tags, etc., and may not account for every such video available on YouTube, January - November 2016.

Source: YouTube Blog


Presidential Inauguration, live on YouTube

From conventions to debates to election day, millions of you came to YouTube over the past year to stay informed and engage in a conversation on the 2016 U.S. election.

The results are in and in one week President-elect Trump will take the oath of office. As in 2013, YouTube is live streaming inauguration coverage and this year you can tune into live streams from more news organizations than ever before.

Head to YouTube on Friday, January 20, and choose a news channel to follow the day-long events:


You'll also be able to feel what it's like to be in the center of the action - look out for special coverage from some of the channels above in 360 degrees and amazing 4K quality.

Stay up to speed on U.S. political news, including live coverage, by heading to youtube.com/news.

Brandon Feldman, YouTube News and Politics, recently watched ”Presidential History.”

Source: YouTube Blog


Can we chat? Hello Super Chat!

We’re always trying to help creators share their stories, deepen relationships with their fans and succeed. In order to help out with the business part of the equation, over the last few years we’ve developed and released several tools to help creators monetize their videos and live streams in a variety of ways.

Today, we are introducing our latest tool for fans and creators to connect with one another during live streams: Super Chat. Anybody watching a live stream can purchase a Super Chat: a highlighted message in the chat stream that stands out from the crowd to get even more of your favorite creator’s attention. And Super Chats remain pinned to the top of chat for up to 5 hours, giving more airtime for your messages.

For creators, this means Super Chat does double duty: keeping their conversations and connections with (super) fans meaningful and lively while also giving creators a new way to make money. We’re excited to start the Super Chat beta today with a few creators, such as iHasCupquakeGreat Library (buzzbean11) and Alex Wassabi. And we plan to broadly launch Super Chat on January 31 for creators in 20 countries and viewers in more than 40 countries.

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As we welcome a new tool for fans and creators, we bid farewell to an old one: Fan Funding. We launched Fan Funding in 2014 to let viewers make voluntary payments to support creators directly. While we were really excited about Fan Funding, it never achieved widespread usage outside of live streams, where we saw the majority of revenue. Fan Funding will stop accepting new sign-ups today, but can continue to be used on enabled channels until February 28, when it will be discontinued.

We are super (get it ;) excited to see how our new creator funding tool keeps the conversation going.

Barbara Macdonald, Product Manager, recently watched "David S. Pumpkins."

Source: YouTube Blog


‘Bennie and the Jets,’ ‘Rocket Man,’ ‘Tiny Dancer’ and You

Ever wanted to direct a music video? How about a video for some of the most loved songs ever written? And then collaborating on that vision with one of entertainment’s most imaginative minds? Well then step up and see if you can make “The Cut.”

Elton John: The Cut Supported by YouTube” is a global competition to create the official music videos for three of the legendary singer’s most iconic songs—“Bennie and the Jets,” “Rocket Man” and “Tiny Dancer.”

Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg (“Shrek,” “Madagascar,” “Kung Fu Panda,” “Monsters vs. Aliens,” “How to Train Your Dragon”) Grammy Award-winning video director Melina Matsoukas (Beyonce’s “Formation”; Rihanna’s “We Found Love”) and Barry Jenkins, writer-director of Golden Globe Best Picture (Drama) “Moonlight,” will serve as judges for the competition that gives aspiring creators from all over the world the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to apply their creative vision to these hits.

Entries officially opened to the public on Jan. 9, 2017, and close on January 23, so now is the time to get started!

Entries will require different artistic elements for each music video entry—submissions for “Rocket Man” should feature animation, “Tiny Dancer” should be live-action, and “Bennie and the Jets” should feature choreography.

Need inspiration?

YouTube creators Kurt Hugo Schneider, PES and Parris Goebel, who will shortlist the entries and present their selections to the judges, will put together some inspirational videos to kick things off.

PES, an Oscar- and Emmy-nominated filmmaker, gives some inspirational examples of how he would apply his unique stop-animation style to “Rocket Man.”

The competition is open to anyone over 16, subject to local terms and conditions. To find out more about “Elton John: The Cut,” supported by YouTube, and how to enter, please visit https://thecut.eltonjohn.com/.

Good luck!

Maya Amoils, Product Marketing Manager, YouTube, recently watched “James Corden Auditions for James Arthur.”

Source: YouTube Blog


New Creators for Change ambassadors and resources are here!

Back in September, we launched YouTube Creators for Change, a global initiative dedicated to amplifying (and multiplying) the voices of YouTube creators who tackle division and hate with videos and stories of hope, connection, and understanding. And as 2016 comes to a close, we’re proud to say that YouTube Creators for Change is growing.

We’ve established local Creators for Change initiatives in Australia, France, Germany, and Turkey, bringing together creators who have uploaded thousands of videos about countering hate through unity. We’ve opened up sets at YouTube Spaces in New York and Los Angeles where creators will record the first video-based StoryCorps interviews. And today, we’re thrilled to introduce our five newest Creators for Change ambassadors: All India Bakchod (India), Cameo Project (Indonesia), Dina Torkia (United Kingdom), Franchesca Ramsey (United States) and John Green (United States). You can learn more about these inspiring creators at the Creators For Change website, which launches today, too!



These new ambassadors will join the six existing ambassadors in engaging their communities on topics like hate speech, xenophobia, and extremism. And to do our part, we’re equipping each one of them with a $25,000 grant to use toward a social impact project of their choice. In fact, this past weekend John Green donated his grant to charity in connection with Project for Awesome, a live-streamed annual fundraiser that brings together video creators from all over the world who support charities that, as the vlogbrothers say, “decrease world suck.”

In the coming months, our 11 ambassadors will also help us choose creators who are already making their voices heard on social issues that matter to them. And as part of our original $1M commitment, each of these emerging creators will be given equipment and production grants. They’ll also receive mentorship support from the program ambassadors and an opportunity to participate in educational workshops at our YouTube Spaces.

Finally, to help all those creators who want to use their voices and videos to take on topics they care about, we’ve collaborated with Upworthy to create a helpful series of best practices for creating effective social-change videos.

 

You can find this video, information on all our ambassadors and more on the YouTube Creators for Change website. So check it out! And stay tuned for more updates in the coming months.

Juniper Downs, Head of YouTube Public Policy, recently watched "This Christian community opened its heart to new Muslim neighbors."

Source: YouTube Blog