If operators like T-Mobile are fretting about too much video clogging up their mobile data networks, some figures today from YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG) will probably confirm their darkest fears: the online video site today said that mobile viewing of its videos is now up to 200 million views a day — a three-fold increase in 2010.
Could that number go higher? Today the site is also announcing a new version of its Android app that will add a significant amount of new content that may well end up driving more usage — if all the new adds don’t put off users too much.
First up are tracks from its music video partner Vevo: high-quality, “official” music videos from artists like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Kanye West and U2. And while some Vevo content online has been restricted to certain geographies in the past, the tracks that have made it to the mobile app will be available worldwide.
YouTube is also adding new features to keep users in the app for longer:
— Music videos are now marked with a ‘music note’ badge and more easily discoverable;
— You can read background on the artist while streaming a video;
— More discovery features to get more content from your chosen artist or find out about new ones.
Being a Google property, this growth will come paired with a lot of new advertising — YouTube’s largest step to date to monetize its mobile platform.
In a blog post about the new app, Andrey Doronichev, YouTube’s mobile product manager, notes that “tens of thousands of YouTube partner videos” will also now have pre-roll ads appear on the YouTube 2.0 app for Android. “This not only expands distribution opportunities for partners like Vevo,” he writes, “but also opens up more revenue to partners distributing their content to mobile.”
Doronichev says YouTube will be expanding mobile advertising opportunities to more of its partners, and across more than just Android apps. No word yet, though, on when those new versions for other platforms will be ready.
YouTube’s new app will run on Android 2.2 (Froyo) or higher. 2.3 devices like the Nexus S have the app pre-installed; others can download it from Google’s Market app store.