YouTube is embracing news from “authoritative sources” at a time when Meta is reluctant to promote hard news or politics on Threads and X owner Elon Musk has taken a dismissive stance toward “legacy media.” Google’s video platform is rolling out a new “immersive watch page experience” on mobile that’s designed to suggest more news content when users are watching news videos. It also plans to spend $1.6 million to promote the creation of news content for its shortform Shorts service.
The new YouTube watch page will appear when you open a video that has a newspaper icon and will highlight relevant longform videos, livestreams, podcasts, and Shorts videos beneath your currently playing content. “We believe this updated news experience will help viewers access a range of credible and diverse voices when they want to dive into a news topic,” Google’s blog post reads.
Footage of the YouTube feature shared by the video platform shows how opening a PBS video about floods in Pakistan will list more videos about the same news event beneath it under headings like “Latest updates,” “Explanations and commentary,” “Live news,” and “Shorts.” The recommended videos are all from major news publishers like The Associated Press, Sky News, and CBS Evening News.
According to Google, the new watch page experience will initially roll out on mobile in around 40 countries and will expand to its desktop and living room interfaces in the future.
Meanwhile, the Google-owned video platform is also pledging to spend $1.6 million to promote the creation of shortform Shorts news content with over 20 organizations across 10 countries. It plans to work with news outlets that already produce longform videos for YouTube to “jumpstart” the creation of shortform news content.
Google’s investment in authoritative news on YouTube is notable at a time when other platforms are more reluctant to court news from traditional mainstream outlets.
Meta has made it clear that it doesn’t plan to actively court or promote news content on Threads. “Politics and hard news are inevitably going to show up on Threads – they have on Instagram as well to some extent – but we’re not going to do anything to encourage those verticals,” Instagram head Adam Mosseri wrote after the service’s launch. More recently, he added that Threads “won’t proactively recommend news content to people who don’t seek it out.”
On X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Musk has made little secret of his dislike of the press. Under his leadership, X no longer shows headlines on articles shared on the platform and has dismantled the system that verified journalists. “I almost never read legacy news anymore,” Musk recently tweeted. “What’s the point of reading 1000 words about something that was already posted on X several days ago?” A little over a week later, the EU opened an investigation into the platform following reports that it’s being used to spread “illegal content and disinformation, in particular the spreading of terrorist and violent content and hate speech.”