YouTube Adds ‘Don’t Recommend Channel’ and New Explore Tools for Finding Content

Google today announced several new features coming to YouTube, all of which are designed to give users more control over the kind of content that appears on the Homepage and in Up Next video suggestions.

For removing video suggestions from channels users are uninterested in, there's a new YouTube option called "Don't recommend channel." It's accessible by tapping on the three-dot menu next to a video on the homepage or Up Next. After tapping it, users will no longer see videos from the channel as suggested content.


The "Don't recommend channel" option will be available on mobile devices first before expanding to the desktop.

Along with an option to stop a channel from being recommended, YouTube is adding more detail on why certain videos have been recommended. There's a small box underneath recommended videos that lets YouTube users know why a video has been surfaced. The feature is available for iOS users today and will be coming to Android and desktop in the future.


YouTube is also gaining new tools to make it easier to explore topics and related videos, such as baking videos, or a favorite music genre. Options presented to YouTube users are based on existing personalized suggestions and can be found on the homepage when scrolling up or on Up Next when browsing. This feature is available for Android users currently and will be expanding to iOS and desktop in the future.


All of the new features are rolling out starting today, but could take some time to expand to all users.

Tag: YouTube

This article, "YouTube Adds 'Don't Recommend Channel' and New Explore Tools for Finding Content" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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YouTube Switches to Free, Ad-Supported Streaming Strategy for Original TV Shows

YouTube on Thursday announced a new original TV content strategy that will see the Google-owned video hub make new programs available to users on a free, ad-supported basis (via Deadline).


Nine new programs will be made available on YouTube this year, with a mix of original content, including a documentary about sports tricks outfit Dude Perfect, and an interactive series featuring YouTube star Mark Fischbach that allows viewers to control the storyline.

Other programs include a third season of the Karate Kid-inspired Cobra Kai, an investigation show from media startup Vox, and a set of standalone films from "The School of Life" YouTube channel, which "explores some of the greatest philosophical questions of our age," according to YouTube.

The development represents a shift in strategy since the arrival of YouTube Premium in May 2018 (previously YouTube Red), which offered ad-free viewing and other benefits, including original programming offered behind a $12-a-month paywall. The latter perk apparently hasn't been as popular as YouTube was hoping, so the new direction is about making original content available to as many users as possible on an ad-supported basis.
"For today's viewers, primetime is personal and our content resonates so strongly due to the diversity and richness of our unmatched library and platform capabilities," Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl said in the official announcement. "While every other media company is building a paywall, we are headed in the opposite direction and now have more opportunities than ever to partner with advertisers and share our critically-acclaimed originals with our global audience."
Another reason for the shift is Google's recognition of the growth in viewing YouTube in the living room, where about 250 million hours of YouTube fare are watched every day, on average, according to the company.

YouTube will continue to test original content benefits for subscribers. For example, all episodes from the third season of Cobra Kai will be available to subscribers in one block, while non-subscribers will gain access to one new episode per week. New episodes of some existing programs are also likely to remain subscriber-only because of contractual commitments, YouTube said.

Tag: YouTube

This article, "YouTube Switches to Free, Ad-Supported Streaming Strategy for Original TV Shows" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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YouTube App Now Natively Supports 2018 iPad Pro Displays, But Home Indicator Overlaps Menu Bar

YouTube updated its iOS app over the weekend with native support for the layout and resolutions of the latest 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro displays, but as noted on Twitter and Reddit, the home indicator now overlaps the bottom menu bar.


Two steps forward, one step backward for now, but hopefully Google addresses this issue in a subsequent update to the app. On the iPhone X and newer, the menu bar is positioned slightly higher as to not overlap with the home indicator.

Spotify also recently updated its iOS and watchOS apps with native support for the 2018 iPad Pro, iPhone XS Max, and Apple Watch Series 4.

Tag: YouTube

This article, "YouTube App Now Natively Supports 2018 iPad Pro Displays, But Home Indicator Overlaps Menu Bar" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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How to Disable Autoplaying Videos in the YouTube App’s Home Tab

Over the next few weeks, YouTube is rolling out a new feature for its mobile app called "Autoplay on Home," which automatically plays videos that appear on your Home tab. As you scroll through your Home feed, videos will begin to play on mute with captions auto-enabled.

Google claims the previously Premium-only feature is a better way to experience new content on the go, and will help you "make more informed decisions about whether you want to watch a video," but not everyone is likely to agree, especially users who have a cellular data cap.

Fortunately, YouTube has provided some options to customize the app's new default behavior, which we'll mention shortly. But first, here's how you can turn off Autoplay on Home completely.

How to Disable Autoplay on Home in the YouTube App

  1. Launch the YouTube app on your iPhone.

  2. Tap your profile icon in the upper right of the screen.

  3. Tap Settings.

  4. Tap Autoplay.

  5. Tap the Autoplay on Home toggle to turn it off.
In some circumstances, Autoplay on Home may be enabled only when you're using either Wi-Fi or cellular data. If you want to adjust this behavior, follow the steps above to bring you to YouTube's Autoplay settings, and you'll find options to Use on Wi-Fi and cellular data and Use only when connected to Wi-Fi.

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YouTube App for iOS Gains HDR Support for iPhone XS and XS Max

YouTube this week introduced an update to its iOS app, quietly adding HDR support on the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models, as pointed out on Reddit.

Both the iPhone XS and XS Max, like the iPhone X, feature "Super Retina" HDR displays that support HDR videos. HDR videos offer up a broader range of colors and luminance compared to non-HDR content.


When watching HDR videos on YouTube, to ensure you're watching at the highest possible quality, you can tap on the three dots in the top right hand corner and then select the "Quality" option. HDR listings will only be available on devices that support HDR, and the highest available quality on the iPhone XS and XS Max is 1080p60 HDR.

Apple added HDR support for the iPhone X back in May, but the feature was not originally working with the iPhone XS and XS Max until the latest update.

Tag: YouTube

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YouTube Updates Smartphone Apps With ‘Time Watched’ Digital Health Tool

YouTube is the latest app to gain a new "digital wellbeing" section in its iOS and Android apps, allowing you to see how much time you've spent watching YouTube recently. Google announced at I/O in May that it would be introducing a "Time watched" section in YouTube, and today the rollout has begun.

Once you update YouTube on iOS to version 13.33, open the app and tap your profile picture in the top right corner, then tap "Time watched." The main stats area shows how much of YouTube you have watched today, yesterday, the past week, and on average per day. This history is based on your personal YouTube history across YouTube products except YouTube Music.


Below this section are tools to manage your time on YouTube, including a setting that will remind you to take a break. If you toggle this on, you can customize the reminder frequency to enable the notification to appear every 2 hours of YouTube you watch, for example, and can increase that cap to as much as 23 hours and 55 minutes.

Outside of "Time watched," there's a new notification area in the settings tab of YouTube as well. Tap your profile icon, settings, and then scroll down to notifications. In here, you can enable a "scheduled digest" of your notifications, which will bundle all of your YouTube push notifications into a single notification each day, at your own preferred time.

To further lessen the amount of time you spend browsing YouTube, the company will let you disable notification sounds and vibrations completely during any hours you specify, a feature that can also be found in settings. YouTube says that it is "dedicated to making sure that you have the information you need to better understand how you use YouTube and develop your own sense of digital wellbeing."

Digital health tools have become immensely popular over the past few months, with Apple launching its own system-wide iOS "Screen Time" features in iOS 12 this fall. More recently, individual apps have taken to introducing their own tools, including Facebook and Instagram.

Tag: YouTube

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Twitch Plans to ‘Aggressively Broaden’ its Content and Expand Beyond Gaming as it Battles YouTube

Twitch, the platform known as a place to watch streamers play games like League of Legends, Fortnite, and Overwatch, is now looking into becoming a "broader video service" that would cater to lifestyle vloggers from rival company YouTube.

According to a report today by Bloomberg, Amazon-owned Twitch has decided to "aggressively broaden" the programming on the platform to directly compete with YouTube, and gain more advertising revenue in the process. Amazon and Twitch have reportedly pursued exclusive live-streaming deals with "dozens" of popular media companies and personalities who are currently on YouTube.


These deals are said to be worth "as much as a few million dollars a year," and include a share of future advertising sales and subscription revenue. "A few deals have closed," although some approached by Twitch have not agreed to the company's terms, including a minimum amount of hours required to livestream per week.

Despite Twitch's plans to add more non-gaming programming, the company is still focusing on live streaming video.
“There will be a steady drumbeat of lots of new content we’re bringing on,” says Michael Aragon, Twitch Interactive Inc.’s senior vice president of content. “We’re growing well, and that makes us an attractive destination for people looking to do new things in live, interactive entertainment.”
When Amazon bought Twitch in 2014, the live streaming service was exclusively focused on video games and didn't let anyone post videos that weren't related to gaming. In recent years, Amazon slightly expanded the scope of the platform with "Twitch Creative," encouraging non-gamers like chefs and artists to stream on Twitch. There have also been marathons of old Saturday Night Live episodes and some live sports.

Despite this introduction of new content, Twitch is still primarily video game-focused today. When browsing the Discover tab on iOS, popular live gaming streams, gaming channels, game clips, and more fill up the space. While Twitch will retain all of the live-streaming features and community of gamers it currently has, today's report suggests that users can expect to see more non-gaming streams in this area down the line.

This "broader video service" expansion appears to have gained even more momentum recently, as Twitch looks to bring people to its platform who might be more susceptible to advertising. As it stands, Twitch's target audience of young male gamers "tend to be resistant to ads." Justin Warden, CEO of e-sports marketing agency Ader Inc., explained that "few brands are excited about reaching an audience of hardcore gamers," but there is interest for "working with an influencer or personality."

YouTube has been losing favor in the creator community for a few years now, most recently causing controversy in May by testing a non-chronological video order in the user's subscription feed. In January, YouTube and Google announced new rules surrounding creator monetization and partnerships, particularly de-monetizing videos that have controversial or inappropriate content. This caused many YouTubers to consider lessening their focus on the platform and look into supplementing their income with other services like Twitch.


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YouTube Testing New Explore Tab on Mobile Devices

YouTube today announced on its Creator Insider channel that it is experimenting with a new Explore Tab on mobile devices, which is designed to expose YouTube viewers to content they might not otherwise experience.

The Explore Tab will recommend different topics, channels, or videos that wouldn't typically come up in a user's traditional feed. Explore Tab recommendations are still personalized and are based on viewing habits, but it's essentially a greater range of content.


YouTube Director of Product Management Tom Leung explained the concept in the video announcing the feature.
The idea behind Explore is for viewers who say 'Hey, you know I like all these recommendations based on what I view, but sometimes it's like too much of the similar stuff' and they want to kind of broaden their horizons a bit. Explore is designed to help people be exposed to different kinds of topics, videos, or channels that you might not otherwise encounter.
The Explore Tab is in testing and it is available to one percent of iPhone users who use the YouTube iOS app. Users who are selected for testing will see a new "Explore" tab at the bottom of the app alongside the "Home" tab, a Subscriptions tab, a new Activity tab, and a Library tab.

While the Explore Tab is limited to a small number of users at this time, if it is successful, YouTube plans to roll it out to a wider number of users.

Tag: YouTube

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YouTube Testing Non-Chronological Video Order in Subscription Feeds for Some Users

Following in the footsteps of companies like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, YouTube this week confirmed that it is "experimenting" with a way to organize its users Subscription Feeds that removes reverse chronological order and uses algorithms to "personalize" the video order. The news came from the @TeamYouTube Twitter account after it responded to a disgruntled user (via iGeneration).


YouTube's Subscription Feed traditionally begins with a "Today" banner, presenting users with a reverse chronological list of every video that has been posted by the YouTubers they subscribe to, going back to "Yesterday," "This Week," "This Month," etc. For those in the experiment, this order is replaced with what Team YouTube calls a "personalized order," which appears to use a viewer's watch history and other factors to recommend videos from their subscriptions that the company thinks the user will want to watch.


YouTube already presents "Recommended" videos on its homepage and in the sidebar of other videos, leading many YouTubers to respond negatively to the change of the last chronological list of videos that could be found on the service. It's unclear what platforms the experiment is currently taking place on, but if it launches for all users it would likely affect YouTube across mobile, desktop, TV, and more.

Using algorithms to surface content has long been popular among social media networks. Facebook's News Feed has done this for years, and Instagram followed in March 2016 stating that as it's grown its users "often don’t see the posts [they] might care about the most," although the company has made slight tweaks to the algorithms since then. For its part, Twitter as a whole still shows tweets from new to old, but it does choose to surface non-chronological content with features like "In case you missed it," displaying followers' liked tweets among your own, ads, and more.

Tag: YouTube

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New $10 YouTube Music Service to Launch Next Week, Replacing Google Play Music

Google is launching YouTube Music next week, shortly followed by YouTube Premium – a revamped version of its ad-free YouTube Red subscription service with a renewed focus on original programming. Announced on Wednesday in a blog post, the shake-up in services represents a splitting of the original YouTube Red subscription model, which gave users both ad-free music streaming and access to original video content for $10 a month.


The new YouTube Music-only service will also cost $10 a month and replaces Google Play Music – existing subscribers will be migrated automatically (that includes non-paying users who have purchased music via Google Play or used the service to upload tracks and playlists). The rebranded service includes personalized playlists, intelligent search, support for background playback and music downloads for offline listening.

The streaming service will also remove ads from music videos, but not the rest of YouTube. An ad-supported version of YouTube Music will be available for free. As part of the launch, Google is promising a "reimagined" mobile app and desktop player that's "designed for music".
YouTube Music is a new music streaming service made for music: official songs, albums, thousands of playlists and artist radio plus YouTube’s tremendous catalog of remixes, live performances, covers and music videos that you can’t find anywhere else - all simply organized and personalized. For the first time, all the ways music moves you can be found in one place.

YouTube Premium, meanwhile, will cost $12 a month, and includes all the benefits of YouTube Music plus access to original shows as well as ad-free viewing for all of YouTube. The extra $2 over the original YouTube Red subscription will make way for more YouTube Originals from around the globe, featuring comedies, dramas, reality series, and action adventure shows from the U.K., Germany, France, Mexico, and more. Existing YouTube Red members will continue to pay the current price for YouTube Premium, however.


YouTube Music and launches on Tuesday, March 22 in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea, rolling out to more countries in the following weeks. They will include Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

YouTube Premium will roll out "soon" in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and South Korea, later followed by Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.


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