Around YouTube headquarters, there’s a stat that management likes to throw around to make it clear that the company isn’t resting on its laurels. No, it isn’t the fact the site is the world’s second largest search engine or that its users upload 35 hours of content per minute. It’s that the average user spends around 15 minutes per day on YouTube. That would be an impressive amount of engagement for just about anything else, but it pales in comparison to the five hours that people spend sitting in front of their TV sets watching cable (yes, seriously). And make no mistake: YouTube wants to take some of that time for itself.
Today, the site is taking an important step toward that goal as it improves its Leanback product with a key new feature: personalized channels. LeanBack, which launched in July and is integrated into Google TV, lets users hit ‘play’ and then sit back and watch an endless stream of YouTube content with no input required. In short, it’s YouTube TV. And now it’s personalized TV — something that no cable network out there can match.