Ross Warren’s first job at YouTube’s parent company, Google, was as a senior designer in the cooler-than-cool Creative Lab. The small and selective team responsible for marketing is expected to be ‘humble but with epic amounts ofambition’, and it was as part of that team that Ross was responsible for art direction and creative production across Google’s EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) operations, as well as a range of global marketing initiatives.
These included Web Lab, a year-long interactive robotic experiment at the London Science Museum; Life in a Day, a feature-length film by Ridley Scott; the YouTube Symphony Orchestra; YouTube Play, a collection of video art at the New York Guggenheim Museum; and the Summit Against Violent Extremism, in Dublin.
Ross – a UWA Bachelor of Commerce graduate and one-time Como resident – relocated from London to San Francisco in 2013 for a role on YouTube’s marketing team. There, he’s been fortunate to work with the likes of Lady Gaga and Arcade Fire on the YouTube Music Awards, and helped to build YouTubers like Lilly Singh, Tyler Oakley and the Epic Rap Battles of History series into mainstream phenomena.
Earlier this year, in his role as Head of Brand Operations, he led the launch of YouTube’s new brand identity, working from his base at YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, California (where facilities for employees of the streaming-video giant include a full-length lap pool, massage rooms and nap pods, as well as a putting green and indoor slide).
Since then he’s been busy marketing YouTube’s new ad-funded Original Content, with new shows launching from the likes of Ellen DeGeneres, Demi Lovato, and Kevin Hart.
While I’ve lived abroad for 13 years, the friends I made at UWA remain lifelong friends.
“Many of them also went on to interesting careers based in London, New York and San Francisco. So I really value the strong alumni network around the world, whichmakes me feel closer to home," he says.
As mobile video consumption continues to boom, YouTube is at the centre of the global evolution of the entertainment and advertising industries – so what can we expect next in the user-generated content market?
“It’s definitely an exciting time to be with the company. YouTube revolutionised the entertainment industry, opening up new opportunities to a new generation of content creators, who found their audience online – as did advertisers and brands. In the past two years we’ve gone from one brand to many – with separate apps for music, gaming, kids and TV – along with a subscription service bringing ad-free access to new Original Content.
With that comes competition from all sides. Facebook, Netflix, Apple, Spotify and Amazon are all making significantly bigger investments in content and creators, year-on-year, and are building ecosystems with their platforms. And the products are changing the ease with which we consume content across screens.
I can now walk into my house and ask my Google Home assistant to turn on my television and stream the latest episode of Stephen Colbert, directly from YouTube. Or I have a phone in my pocket, which doubles as a remote control, so we’re seeing increased watch time on our TVs.
“In 2018, we’ll continue to see a blurring of lines between home-grown YouTube stars and Hollywood A-list celebrities. The YouTube Space LA – our film studio in Playa Vista – frequently sees YouTubers (who can use our facilities for free) mingling with the likes of Katy Perry.
I certainly didn’t expect to find myself working in tech and entertainment when studying marketing, finance and accounting back in 1997, but I’m glad my education, career and travels brought me here!”
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