Google executive chairman says YouTube has already displaced broadcast TV

YouTube, the Google-owned video hosting service, has already displaced broadcast television, Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, said in New York City last week.

When asked at a conference if YouTube could eventually overtake television, Schmidt said, “That’s already happened.”

The chairman said “the future is now,” for YouTube, which now has more than 1 billion viewers each month and is still climbing.

Missing from the YouTube event, held at a Lower Eastside pier, was any mention of the initiative of a year ago when the video service announced the launching of 100 channels from media companies, individual actors and creative people. It appears that YouTube is moving away from that plan and trying to become less like traditional television.

“YouTube is not a replacement for something that we know,” Schmidt said. "It’s a new thing that we have to think about, to program, to curate and build new platforms.”

As to the newly achieved number of 1 billion viewers each month, something YouTube was promoting, Schmidt said the number is just the beginning.

“Wait until you get to 6 or 7 billion,” he said.

Robert Kyncl, head of global content at YouTube, noted that at one time he thought YouTube was like television, but now knows that it is not.

“I was wrong,” Kyncl said. “TV is one-way. YouTube talks back. TV means reach. YouTube means engagement.”

In the presentation to advertisers, YouTube billed the event as a “brandcast.” It presented the video service as something different from television. It’s a service, YouTube said, with global reach, community engagement and more 18- to 34-year-olds than any cable network.