VP/Global Head of Content Partnerships
POWER MOVE: Adding 77 more premium YouTube channels (including those from WMG and Bowery Presents); building Google+ and YouTube as music platforms with new music from Alicia Keys and Bruno Mars.
THE RUNDOWN: “Audience development is equally as important as great content,” Robert Kyncl told the Wall Street Journal late last year. Just “by creating fantastic content and spending zero time on audience development, you are certain that you will not succeed on YouTube.”
Helping movie studios, labels, sports leagues and broadcasters succeed with video on the Internet is just one area of Kyncl’s job description. Thanks to his deepened ties with content partners around the world, Google added 77 premium channels to YouTube and brought its overall total up to 177. Among the players recruited by Kyncl and his team: Warner Music Group, the Bowery Presents and, through a label joint venture, Vevo, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment.
In addition, Kyncl oversaw a deal with hardware company Dell to sponsor four festivals for exclusive webcasts — the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Things are going so well that Kyncl predicted that within three years 90% of all Web traffic will be video-related. Today, he says, YouTube ads bring in more revenue per hour than U.S. cable TV.
His task hasn’t always been easy. Studios, labels and publishers have regarded the Silicon Valley giant with a wary eye, fearful its technology might devalue their assets and aid piracy. By leveraging the extensive ties he built during his years as VP of content at Netflix and as a manager at HBO, however, Kyncl helped Google come to terms with content owners.
This year, Kyncl is setting his sights on creating cross-product entertainment experiences similar to experiments last year with Alicia Keys and Bruno Mars. Both artists debuted new music on Google platforms Google+ and YouTube. The belief is that, by combining Google’s various technologies in novel ways, the company can deliver even more marketing juice to the content partners crucial to Google’s ambitions.