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YouTube (s GOOG) said on Wednesday that it is now serving 100 million videos a day on its mobile website, via its mobile apps and mobile website, which is relaunching this afternoon at m.youtube.com. The site is relaunching with better video playback quality and a more complete feature set that resembles the experience users are getting from the desktop.
YouTube Mobile Product Manager Andrey Doronichev said that the number of videos resembles YouTube’s overall metrics when it was bought by Google in fall of 2006. YouTube mobile has seen its video views grow by 160 percent in 2009, he added. Check out a quick interview with Doronichev below.
Here are the most important features of the new YouTube mobile site:
- The site now utilizes H.264 MPEG-4 for video playback. This should notably improve the video playback quality over the iPhone and Android apps, which are still using H.263.
- Users are able to switch between two different video playback qualities, with the higher quality clips streaming at around 250 kbps.
- YouTube Mobile uses HTML5 video playback and utilizes a feature to pre-fetch clips.
- The site offers the ability to browse YouTube channels, as well as video categories.
- The UI has been designed for touchscreen devices and is optimized for HTML5-compliant mobile browsers.
Doronichev called the new YouTube mobile site “by far the most full-featured YouTube mobile implementation out there,” which is an interesting take on YouTube apps for iPhone and Android. He demoed the video playback quality in direct comparison to YouTube’s iPhone app, which was built by Apple (s AAPL). So why is the website better than the app experience? Building apps involves a lot of partners, including carriers and app stores, Doronichev said, adding: “With the site, we can iterate faster.”
There’s also another reason YouTube is emphasizing its mobile website over native apps: monetization. YouTube launched some initial monetization efforts for its mobile site back in March 2010 when it introduced banner ads on the site’s home page. However, Doronichev said today that these ad formats don’t actually allow revenue sharing with content owners since they’re not attached to individual videos.
Monetizing individual videos will allow YouTube to bring in more content for mobile consumption, and Doronichev said that YouTube is going to experiment with additional ad formats on its mobile site “in the nearest future.” These could include — but will not be limited to — monetization formats used on the desktop, including overlays and pre-roll ads. The good thing about the new site is that it allows YouTube to experiment with these formats, he said. “It’s very hard to do that with apps.”
Related content on GigaOm Pro: Report: The In-App Advertising Landscape (subscription required)