BBC Three should be a "lab" for the BBC to test the digital waters says Google's Matt Brittin

BBC Three should be used as a "lab" to test the waters of what does and doesn't work online according to president, EMEA business and operations Google.

Delivering the digital keynote at this year's Edinburgh International Television Festival, Brittin said the popular BBC Radio One YouTube channel should act as a steer for BBC Three as it moves to online only.

"The BBC should focus on content that the audience will want to watch, share and engage with," he said, adding that executives should, however, grasp the opportunities for experimentation and "learn what happens" to benefit other offerings like BBC Four in the future.

Praising Radio One for "fishing where the fish are" by targeting its younger audience online, Brittin pondered whether or not being an audio brand had perhaps emboldened Radio One's output as there's no fear of "cannibalising its TV audience."

"If you look at Graham Norton compared with Jimmy Kimmel or Ellen DeGeneres in the states he's miles behind," he explained, adding that the figures (6m, 12m and 279k subscribers respectively) speak for themselves as Kimmel and DeGeneres successfully use YouTube to drive audiences back to their live shows in a way Norton and the BBC are yet to master.

"We live in a multi-screen world. In the UK a third of people say they use five or more different devices to go online. In a typical day in the UK, 98 per cent of 18 to 34 year-olds watch video on their smartphones and over half of us what on our smartphones while watching TV," he said, addressing that today's audience takes charge of "what they want, when they want, where they want". The new meaning of WWW.

"The audience has become creators too," he added referencing a Variety poll of US teens who when asked to name their favourite stars picked YouTubers, a trend evident in the UK with the rise of Zoella, Tanya Burr and TomSka to name but a few.

A contentious topic of late Brittin addressed the issue of vlogger and brand partnerships blurring the lines of church and state, or in this case content and advertising, claiming for the majority of vloggers their key concern is "authenticity" and that vloggers are bound "by the same rules as TV" thanks to ASA guidelines.

Of whether or not YouTube had plans to take on Netflix or Amazon with original commissions, Brittin made it clear the platform "does not aspire to be Netflix" and what it wants to do is be a "free, ad-funded set of tools to bring creators and audiences to come together. We won't be commissioning anytime soon," he added firmly.

Moving onto advertising, Brittin spoke of the "vast march towards programmatic" and that brands, technology companies and content creators now need to work together to pour more value on high quality content."

"People are more inclined to watch ads on YouTube if they're good and entertaining…there's a real opportunity to do more work with brands for brand funded commercial TV," he said.

For more on the Edinburgh International Television Festival follow The Drum's live coverage here.

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