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With 1.5bn viewers in tow, YouTube focuses on live TV, original content and VR

YouTube is adding 12 new original projects to YouTube Red.

After launching in the “largest US markets” earlier this year, YouTube TV, the $35-a-month service that allows users to stream live TV from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN and cable networks and record without storage limits, is expanding to ten US markets in a few weeks. These markets include: Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington DC, Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne and Charlotte.

YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki made the announcement at online video conference VidCon.

Wojcicki also unveiled 12 new original projects coming to YouTube Red, the ad-free subscription-based service that launched in October 2015.

In 2016, YouTube Red began rolling out original content and Wojcicki said YouTube has since launched 37 original series and movies that have generated nearly 250m views.

In fact, Wojcicki said 1.5 billion logged-in viewers visit YouTube every month and, on average, those viewers spend over an hour a day watching YouTube on mobile devices alone.

What’s more, Wojcicki said in the coming weeks, the YouTube app will dynamically adapt to whatever size these users choose to watch it in.

“That means if you’re watching a vertical, square or horizontal video, the YouTube player will seamlessly adapt itself, filling the screen exactly the way [it] should,” she added.

Wojcicki said YouTube is also expanding a feature that lets users share videos from the YouTube app. It was announced last year and will be available in Latin America in a few weeks and throughout the US shortly thereafter.

In addition, Wojcicki said YouTube wants to make VR more accessible and affordable, which is why it teamed up with Google’s VR platform Daydream on a new video format, VR180, which she said YouTube believes will make VR content easier to create. That’s because VR180 video focuses on what’s in front of the viewer and transitions seamlessly to a VR experience when viewed with Cardboard, Daydream and PSVR devices. VR180 also supports livestreaming.

“This format delivers 3D video while capturing 180 degrees around you. Creators only have to worry about recording what’s in front of them while viewers get an awesome, immersive experience with a VR headset or a video that looks just as great on a phone as any other video,” Wojcicki said. “Best of all, we’re working with camera manufacturers like LG, Yi and Lenovo to build new VR180 cameras for as little as a couple hundred dollars – comparable to what you’d pay for a point-and-shoot.”

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