Hello and welcome to what I’m certain will be an amazing year at the Edinburgh Television Festival.
It’s been another big year for broadcast and entertainment. The world of TV continues to expand and we’ve seen a rise in personalised services that are adapting to viewer’s needs. Whether that’s the ability to download content to enjoy offline via streaming services or catching up on shows you’ve missed on-demand. Consumers are even changing the landscape of TV themselves as fans rally to ensure that what they want to see is shown on screen, as seen when Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Arrested Development were bought back to life this year. Viewers expect more from their entertainment services than ever before, and therefore brands are constantly evolving and innovating to provide the best possible service. We all enjoy a bit of drama on our screens which has contributed to the popularity of shows like Big Little Lies being commissioned for a second season, with mega celebs like Meryl Streep joining the already all-star cast. The show also portrayed an important step forward in gender diversity in the industry as an all-female lead cast portrayed a powerful storyline and secured over 40 award wins. This victory demonstrated the power women have in the industry (both as creators and consumers), especially in the face of the #metoo movement that has changed the face of Hollywood forever.
It’s been a big year for YouTube as well. Most recently of course with the introduction of YouTube Premium and YouTube Music in 17 countries around the world. While investment in programming and supporting creators is not new, this expansion and deep investment into YouTube Originals and Music is our latest chapter in that commitment. We want YouTube Originals to stand for premium, entertaining and diverse content. These shows are designed to drive conversation — both in person and on social media — thought, and excitement. This can be seen in recent smash hits like the Karate Kid-inspired series, Cobra Kai, the dance drama, Step Up: High Water, and Jack Whitehall: Training Days which was produced here in the UK. More new Originals from around the globe are on the way—featuring comedies, dramas, reality series and action adventure shows from the U.S., Germany, France, Mexico, and the U.K., where we plan to continue to produce shows with global appeal, including our forthcoming sci-fi drama Origin.
At YouTube, we are seeing that digital platforms are delivering new ways for fans to connect, enjoy and engage with the content they love. In the UK, records are being smashed by some of the biggest broadcast players in the game, with shows like Britain’s Got Talent crossing the 10M subscriber mark. And with the livestream of the UEFA Champions League on YouTube, BT Sport was able to reach a large and different audience on their YouTube channel which complemented huge audiences on TV. And now with English cricket, we are seeing broader audiences tuning in for the current series with India. We’re truly just at the beginning of this journey together, and we look forward to working with and complementing broadcast moving forward. YouTube is a proud partner with all of the people in this room — whether you’re a casual video consumer, a mega-fan, or a Music lover. We’re proud to be here this week to honour this amazing industry. We’re especially looking forward to hearing the unique perspective of Michaela Coel, one of the UK’s leading young writer-performers and for the sessions to come, such as the A Very English Scandal masterclass.
Thanks so much and enjoy the Festival!
Rich Waterworth Marketing Director, YouTube EMEA
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