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WASHINGTON, July 10, 2018 (News Wires) - YouTube unveiled plans to invest $25 million in news organizations as part of an effort to boosted trusted journalism and combat misinformation.

The Google-owned online video service said it would offer funding "across approximately 20 global markets to support news organizations in building sustainable video operations."

The grants "will enable our partners to build key capabilities, train staff on video best practices, enhance production facilities and develop formats optimized for online video," YouTube said in a statement late Monday.

The latest move is part of a $300 million Google News Initiative announced earlier this year by YouTube's parent to help curb manipulation and misinformation, which can spread easily online.

The YouTube effort comes as Google and Facebook -- companies that drew heavy criticism following the 2016 US election for failing to prevent the propagation of false news -- have been taking a series of steps to promote verifiable journalism.

"The work of trusted journalistic organizations is as critical as ever, especially when it comes to seeking information about current events online," YouTube said.

In addition to helping news organizations with video, YouTube said it was stepping up efforts to help its users identify "authoritative" news sources.

"Authoritativeness is essential to viewers, especially during fast-moving, breaking news events, so we've been investing in new product features to prominently surface authoritative sources," the statement said.

 

SAN FRANCISCO, June 30, 2018 (News Wires) - YouTube is running a “small and brief” experiment, involving 0.3 per cent of users for a few weeks, however it’s causing a bit of an uproar among the community of creators.

When browsing YouTube videos, each link has a preview image, or thumbnail, as they call it.

For those YouTube creators looking to get more views, a custom thumbnail could make a difference and often they put great effort into making theirs stand out, which is why the latest decision by the company to test auto-generated thumbnails has not been well received.

Therefore 0.3 per cent of viewers will see YouTube’s auto-generated thumbnail, across all channels, instead of the custom-made ones from the creators.

This was announced in a post, in a YouTube Help Forum on June 27, noting that “this will not affect the content of the videos” and “There are no current plans to change or remove the ability to add custom thumbnails.”

Despite noting that it is “a top request [they] get from creators who use them,” many have taken to Twitter to express their unhappiness about this trial designed to test “effectiveness,” which some feel YouTube could have publicised better beforehand, rather than waiting for someone to confront them.

In response to a tweet from @AlarconGareca on June 28, @TeamYouTube followed up with more explanations, noting that 99.7 per cent of users “still see the creator’s custom thumbnail.”

 

SAN FRANCISCO, June 29, 2018 (News Wires) - Facebook’s Instagram service is loosening its restraints on video in an attempt to lure younger viewers away from video platform YouTube when they’re looking for something to watch on their smartphones.

The expansion announced recently, dubbed IGTV, will increase Instagram’s video time limit from one minute to 10 minutes for most users. Accounts with large audiences will be able to go as long as an hour.

Video will be available through Instagram or a new app called IGTV. The video will eventually give Facebook more opportunities to sell advertising.

It’s the latest instance in which Instagram has ripped a page from a rival’s playbook in an effort to preserve its status as a cool place for young people to share and view content. In this case, Instagram is mimicking Google’s YouTube. Before, Facebook and Instagram have copied Snapchat – another magnet for teens and young adults.

Instagram, now nearly 8 years old, is moving further from its roots as a photo-sharing service as it dives headlong into longer-form video.

 

 

 

SAN FRANCISCO, June 23, 2018 (News Wires) - YouTube, often criticised for not compensating creators well enough, will allow them to set up paid channel memberships, the company said recently.

Currently the vast majority of revenue at the Google-owned service comes from advertising and that will remain a focus, said Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief products officer.

“But we also want to think beyond ads. Creators should have as many ways and opportunities to make money as possible,” he said.

Viewers will pay $4.99 a month for channel memberships giving them access to exclusive content including livestreams, extra videos or shout-outs on channels with more than 100,000 subscribers.

Creators will also be able to sell merchandise like shirts or phone cases directly on their channels, the company said.

YouTube returns a small part of its advertising revenue to content creators who regularly accuse the platform of giving them only crumbs.

The site is facing increasing competition from other platforms using more and more video.

YouTube says it has more than 1.9 billion users but the figure only counts those who log in via their accounts.

 

SAN FRANCISCO, June 22, 2018 (News Wires) - Instagram said it now has more than one billion active users, as it unveiled a new long-form video feature in a bid to attract “creators” like those on YouTube.

It becomes the fourth Facebook platform to hit the billion-user mark, including the namesake social network with more than two billion users, and the messaging applications WhatsApp and Messenger.

Instagram, which had some 800 million users as of September, has been outpacing rival social networks such as Twitter and Snapchat and has been gaining younger users even as Facebook itself has seen declines in the youth segment.

Instagram chief executive Kevin Systrom announced the milestone as he unveiled the new video application known as IGTV.

“We have now a community of one billion users,” Systrom told the event in San Francisco.

“Since our launch in 2010, we’ve watched with amazement as the community has flourished and grown.”

As Facebook itself has moved deeper into video, Instagram will become a direct competitor to YouTube with IGTV.

IGTV will enable any user to upload long-form videos and will also include “channels” from video “creators,” similar to a format employed by Google-owned YouTube which has given rise to a number of YouTube “stars.”

“Anyone can be a creator - you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel,” Systrom said.

NEW YORK, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - YouTube extended its music streaming service to Europe a month after it launched in North America and parts of Asia.

YouTube Music will offer Europeans millions of songs and videos advertising-free for a subscription of €9.99 a month - 11 per cent more expensive than its US version.

An existing free version of the standalone service with ads will continue with “a reimagined mobile app and brand new desktop player”, it said.

The Google-owned giant said it would have “thousands of playlists... millions of songs, albums and artist radio” - a tool than allows listeners to build radio lists around a singer or band.

The new service is an attempt by the Californian digital empire to combat its fast-growing rivals like Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer.

Google boasts that 1.3 billion internet users already listen to music via YouTube, but it wants a bigger slice of the paid-for music market.

The music industry lobby group, the IFPI, said that 176 million people around the world paid to stream music in 2017, the majority on Sweden-based Spotify, which has 75 million paying subscribers.

YouTube has faced criticism from the music industry for abusing its position, with the IFPI saying that it only pays $1 a year per user in royalties to artists while Spotify pays $20.

But YouTube said it has agreed new more equal terms with music companies.

The money paid by streaming operators has helped revive the music industry over the last three years.

Google is also rebranding its YouTube Red services as YouTube Premium offering ad-free music streaming alongside a video platform.

The service, which includes children's shows like the Karate Kid-inspired Cobra Kai and a gaming app, is priced at €11.99 per month.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in a recent Bloomberg interview that the company has 50 million paid and trial subscribers on its music service, which launched in 2015 and does not have a free tier.

Deezer, which claims to specialise in “cooler” bands and in niche and local markets, has around 15 million subscribers, according to the IFPI.

 

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