YouTube Leanback Adds Personalized Channels, Skippable Ads

YouTube Leanback is now letting users create their own personalized channels to help them manage their content more efficiently. Also launching: skippable ads.

YouTube Dec. 2 spruced up the usefulness of its Leanback application by letting users create their personalized channels.

Leanback lets users type in a topic they want to see related videos for and sit back to let them roll. Videos are chosen with consideration of users' YouTube settings and preferences.

Leanback works well on Google TV, but users still have to switch from topic to topic. There are only so many Sesame Street videos that will play before a users gets tired and needs to switch to something else.

So while there was definitely more of a "leanback" experience compared to the typical YouTube operation of searching for each video and hitting play, the content still needs to be managed.

YouTube Leanback's new Personalized Channels features help users find what they should watch next.

Users will sign into their YouTube account, go to Leanback, tap the down arrow key on their keyboard twice, and select the "create channels" option on the left at the bottom of the screen.

YouTube will suggest personalized channels based on videos users have watched in the past. Users may select any of the channels Leanback suggests based on previously watched videos, by clicking enter, or type in a topic to see related content.

"It's a bit like having your own personal video delivery butler, serving you relevant videos that reflect what you like, or find interesting," said Christina Ilvento, product manager for YouTube Leanback.

"For instance, if you create a 'fail' channel, it will start out showing the best fail videos we can find, and then gradually start branching out to pranks, funny commercials and other related topics. It will also adjust itself based on how you interact with the videos shown and get better the more you watch and interact with them."

See YouTube's demo of Leanback Personalized Channels here.

YouTube Dec. 2 launched another feature that should appeal to users: skippable ads.

The new TrueView ad format will let users skip ads they're not interested in by clicking a button after it plays for five seconds.

YouTube said not every ad will have this "skip" option, but even cutting out some ads when trying to roll through 12 straight Leanback videos will be helpful.