Wednesday Wrap-Up #276

YouTube tops one billion hours of video a day
YouTube viewers worldwide are now watching more than one billion hours of video a day. This figure represents a tenfold increase in viewership since 2012 and threatens to overshadow U.S. television viewership. This is a milestone for the platform, which has been fuelled by the Google unit’s embrace of artificial intelligence to recommend videos.

YouTube launches its own streaming TV service
And just to really stick it to TV traditionalists, YouTube recently announced that it will be launching its own TV streaming service. The feature will mix cable television programming and livestreams of broadcasts with the abundance of online video found on YouTube.

The service is to exist in a standalone app, and for $35 a month, subscribers will get four major networks – CBS, ABC, FOX and NBC and around 35 cable channels. No specific launch dates or locations have been stated yet, but keep your eyes open in the next few months.

Facebook using AI to help prevent users at risk of suicide

Facebook is boosting its ability to identify users at risk of self-harm or suicide by employing artificial intelligence to scan people’s posts. If the post is believed to indicate the potential for self-harm, Facebook will make the option to report the post more prominent. They’re also investigating fast-tracking such posts so they can be reviewed by a human as quickly as possible.


Instagram Stories’ ads now available for businesses globally

If you haven’t been granted access already, pretty soon you’ll get to join the exclusive club of brands like Nike and Airbnb who have been able to test this feature since earlier in the year. Airbnb ran a series of 15-second video ads in Stories to support the launch of its new Experiences feature. Instagram is building out its advertising offering for Stories to capitalise on its 150 million daily users worldwide.

Snap Stock soars, then retreats, following IPO
Snap’s (Snapchat’s parent company) IPO went off with a bang, with shares rising 44% on Thursday, the day of its initial public offering. On Friday, its second day of trading, Snap’s shares soared up as much as 20%, but then eased back by midday. Despite warnings from analysts, the stocks (even as they settle) are still at a sky-high valuation.

Snapchat growth increasingly driven by older users
Long gone are the days where Snapchat is seen as a confusing or frightening app to the older generation. According to a new report from eMarketer, much of the platform’s growth is now driven by older Americans. These are likely the same parents who used to call it a “sexting app” and insist their kids delete it.

The firm states that this year, 6.4% of Snapchat’s users will be between the ages of 45 and 54, up from 4.2% that was previously estimated. Snapchat’s growth among older Americans has a lot to do with the content deals, which include those with NFL, NBCUniversal, Hearst and so on. Interestingly, projections for users 24 and younger have decreased slightly, partly due to increasing competition from Instagram. Are late-to-the-party parents driving teens back to Insta? Or will a new private, secret app emerge? We’ll have to wait and see!

Let Facebook be your travel guide
Facebook has confirmed a new travel planning feature called ‘City Guides.’ A potential challenger to Foursquare, the guides will show users a list of cities and which of your friends have visited, as well as various recommendations of places to go and things to do. The data is presumably being extracted from users’ check-ins and Facebook posts. Also included in each city’s guide is a list of ‘Places the Locals Go’ – so no more tourist traps, you can revel in some proper culture instead.

The feature is still only available to a small amount of users, but it is now rolling out more broadly across mobile.

Facebook tests Messenger Reactions
Facebook is currently testing Reactions and a dislike button on messages to make Messenger more fun and engaging. It’s currently a small test where users can share an emoji that best represents their feelings on a message. It’s not available to everyone right now, but Facebook stated Messenger Reactions could roll out to all users soon if they seem to engage with it during this beta trial run.

Introducing Series by Medium

Calling all storytellers! Medium is introducing a new type of story for readers – Series. Series are mobile stories that can be added to over time and unfold card by card with the tap of your finger. This is its first step towards building a new way to read on Medium that is serialized and seamless.