YouTube has become one of the biggest product offerings that Google has right now, and many people won't even think of YouTube as a Google property, so strong is the network's own branding these days. The industry sees YouTube a little differently however, and have most recently started to think of it as Google's own competitor to Netflix and the like, with the launch of YouTube Red content earlier this year worrying rivals even further. Considering that YouTube could only have ever been a product of a younger generation, the industry, as well as the creators making a living on YouTube, are wondering how they approach new technology like Virtual Reality. The answer, as it turns out, is with open arms and not a moment to waste.
YouTube already shows 360-degree content that is viewable using a Cardboard compatible VR headset, and creators can freely upload whatever they want in VR to YouTube. The question is however, how does content go beyond just more of the same in VR, to something that was born to be Virtual Reality content right from the get go? Business Insider recently spoke to Kelly Merryman, YouTube's Head of Content Partnerships, who said that "we think that the creative industry is actually going to figure out all sorts of new formats and our goal is to make it simple and easy to use" in reference to VR. To help the industry, and more specifically the stars that make YouTube the popular place it has become today "figure it out" they're lending a helping hand. YouTube is educating some of their biggest names across a wide variety of styles and content on how to use VR equipment, with Virtual Reality cameras and tools set up in their creator spaces all over the world. These studios have long been a way to help creative talent get access to the tools, equipment and knowledge they need to succeed and in Los Angeles, London, New York, Tokyo, Berlin, and Toronto they now have access to VR tools and cameras.
Not everyone will be able to walk in and use these new tools however, as it appears as though how much access a YouTube star gets to this technology depends on their subscriber base and views. Still, with YouTube Red continuing to grow, and popular stars like PewDiePie and College Humor creating unique content for it, Virtual Reality seems like the logical next step to making YouTube a place for all kinds of content and formats. For Google, YouTube gaining VR content will be a great boost to the new Daydream platform set to launch later this year, and it would certainly help Android become a more attractive alternative to iOS.