Robert Kyncl: The 2014 Billboard Power 100
NO. 45

Robert Kyncl

Head of content and business operations, Google/YouTube

Riding the mobile wave to offering an expanded music offering

With Robert Kyncl at the helm of content and business operations, Google’s online video juggernaut YouTube continued to gather momentum in 2013, joining the rarified Billion User Club alongside Facebook, just three months into the year. Six billion hours of video are viewed every month on YouTube, up from 4 billion in the spring of 2012. That resulted in a “corresponding increase in revenue for our creators,” Kyncl says.

Much of that growth has come from increased views on mobile devices. Four out of every 10 YouTube videos are watched on mobile devices, up from one of four in 2012. YouTube’s international growth also added fuel. The vast majority of views—80%—come from outside the United States, up from 70% a year earlier. It’s a statistic that Kyncl, who emigrated to the States from the Czech Republic in 1992 at the age of 20, is very proud of. “Our international growth is also a huge opportunity for YouTube,” Kyncl says. In addition to that 80%, “60% of a creator’s views comes from outside their country.”

Still, there are challenges ahead, Kyncl says. “The costs involved in switching from Pandora to Spotify to YouTube to find music have disappeared. That means no platform can take their fans for granted. We have to constantly innovate to provide fans the best music experience to keep them engaged.”

For YouTube that means introducing a paid music service, quite apart from Google Play’s existing All Access subscription service. Kyncl has already helped secure the licenses needed to launch the service, so it’s now up to the company’s developers to create something that viewers will pay for.