YouTube Revenue Lags Forecasts as Competition Mounts

In the fall of 2012, then-YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar and his lieutenants set an audacious goal: increase the collective “watch time” for YouTube videos by an order of magnitude, to a billion hours per day, by the end of 2016. That would represent about 20% of all the time people spend watching television.

The billion-hour target, employees were told, would be more important than other metrics, including revenue. It would guide every major decision. And it would be hard to reach, especially because Google-owned YouTube isn’t accessible in China.

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The YouTube service has suffered repeated delays in part due to internal conflicts, including the fact that the Google Play app store on Android-powered smartphones and tablets already offers a subscription music service. More recently, YouTube has had well-publicized conflicts over licensing contracts with some independent music labels.


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Ms. Wojcicki has personally gotten to know some of the top YouTube video creators. She is offering some of them bonuses for reaching certain viewership targets.