YouTube has started rolling out a “Breaking News” section in people’s feeds today across platforms as Alphabet continues to tailor custom content playlists to users logged into Google Accounts, Android Police reports.
For most, YouTube is a place to hop from one video to the next and descend down rabbit holes, but browsing anything like a feed has become less straightforward than other platforms, which makes the breaking news section an interesting addition.
As the video sharing site has grown older, the content has grown more produced with YouTube personalities mounting “celebrity” careers, while commentary-heavy videos grow in popularity over the raw video that is more common on Facebook and Twitter.
For YouTube’s part this has grown to be a very valuable distinction. While Facebook’s has seen its video views increase heavily by way of quick-and-dirty videos, YouTube seems to be somewhere where people invest major time browsing, even if there seems to be just as much noise. In June, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that the site had 1.5 billion watching an hour of video each on mobile alone.
Breaking news may initially seem to be a bit of an unusual direction for the site, but as Google works on courting publishers through special programs with AMP, it may be interesting to see how YouTube treats partnerships with 24-hour broadcast news publishers who already put a lot of content on the site.
Today, my “breaking news” tab had a lot of news on Bannon’s exit from the White House. Most of the stuff was an hour or two old, so it’s not BREAKING quite as much as other locations but it offers a chance to see stories evolve on YouTube in a much more packaged way. For now it seems that YouTube is mostly turning to traditional networks as the sources. Going with established media might be a more straight-forward start but it will be interesting to see how much it adjusts to people’s viewing habits and whether more bombastic YouTube personalities find their way into the tab sharing their thoughts on the day’s latest news and begging you to like and subscribe for more.