YouTube taps new boss to grow content across the Americas
YouTube on Monday named Tara Walpert Levy as its new vice president of Americas, a key role at the Google-owned video platform overseeing global content verticals including influencers, shopping, gaming and news.
Walpert Levy, who has worked for Google since 2014, will start her new role on Nov. 29. Prior to her promotion, she was vice president of agency and brand solutions at the tech giant.
“I’m a builder at heart, and in my last team, we had a lot of success and momentum already in place when I came in, but we were able to quadruple the business and to successfully build out the infrastructure to support it,” Walpert Levy said. “That’s really what I’m hoping to do in this new role at YouTube.”
She replaces longtime YouTube executive Kelly Merryman, who resigned over the summer. Merryman was seen by many people in the industry as instrumental to changing YouTube’s image in Hollywood from a pariah to a key partner that could help market programs from studios and networks.
YouTube executive Kelly Merryman has been instrumental in improving content partnerships with large media companies like Disney and Viacom.
Merryman is now president and chief operating officer at Burlington, Mass.-based digital security company Aura.
YouTube, the pioneer in user-generated video content, has seen increased competition from the likes of TikTok, Snapchat, Facebook and Amazon-owned Twitch to court the best creators.
After audiences embraced 15-second short videos on TikTok, rivals including YouTube and Facebook launched their own version. YouTube says its videos of 15 seconds or less through Shorts have more than 15 billion views each day.
During the pandemic, YouTube saw an increase in demand for its platform from audiences as they looked for ways to connect as they sheltered at home. With many Hollywood productions shut down or postponed, entertainers also turned to YouTube to distribute their content.
YouTube is also reaching out to audiences in real life. In August, YouTube opened its first branded theater in Inglewood, a venue that will hold concerts, e-sports competitions and other events.
YouTube has more than 2 million creators in its YouTube Partner Program and has paid more than $30 billion to creators, artists and media companies in the last three years, Walpert Levy said.
“I just think these opportunities in everything from Shorts to shopping, to gaming to areas like health and learning ... really have a lot of runway in front of us,” she said. “So (I’m) excited to lean into those and help creators grow their businesses.”
YouTube says the new theater will give more opportunities for its creators to showcase their talent in an up to 6,000-seat venue.
Advertising on YouTube is a key revenue driver for Google’s business. YouTube advertising brought in $7.2 billion in the third quarter, up 43% compared with a year ago, according to earnings from Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
Walpert Levy, who is based in New York, will report directly to YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl.
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