The video giant Google says it reaches more than 150 million viewers per month in the US on television
The biggest YouTube advertising innovation of 2023? It might be borrowing an old page from an old-fashioned linear TV.
At a YouTube Brandcast upfront event Wednesday in New York, execs announced the introduction of 30-second non-skippable ads in YouTube’s top-performing content on TVs — you know, just like the commercials that have been running on broadcast and cable networks for decades. YouTube will also begin testing YouTube’s new “pause experiences” on TV screens, showing an ad when viewers pause a video similar to the paused ads Hulu first bowed to four years ago.
In their showcasing of Madison Avenue types, YouTube execs also flaunted the streaming service’s massive reach: More than 150 million unique viewers in the US watched YouTube and YouTube TV on their TVs for the month of December 2022, according to Nielsen estimates. YouTube remains the No. 1 most-watched service on television in America (across both streaming platforms and traditional TV networks), and in April it was one of the only streaming companies to see month-over-month growth, according to Nielsen.
“More and more viewers are watching YouTube on the biggest screen in their home,” YouTube CEO Neil Mohan said.in the photo above), calling it a “seismic shift” in the way people view video content. “Viewers – especially younger ones – no longer distinguish between what kind of content they watch. When they turn on TV, they want everything they love in one place – from their favorite creators, to blockbuster movies, to football. And they can find it all on YouTube.” . Mohan, formerly YouTube’s Chief Product Officer, took over the top job after Susan Wojcicki stepped aside earlier this year.
The presentation also highlighted exclusive YouTube rights to an off-market NFL Sunday Ticket game package, starting with the 2023 football season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appeared to push the agreement, and was joined by college football player turned YouTuber Deestroying.
Goodell revealed that the YouTube/NFL partnership will enlist MrBeast — YouTube’s number one solo creator with 153 million subscribers — to create behind-the-scenes football content. “The reality is, millions of football fans are on YouTube to watch all things NFL,” Goodell said. “This partnership will build on the success we have seen on the YouTube platforms with our most popular content.”
After a standing ovation, YouTube Chief Business Officer Mary Ellen Coe announced that all Brandcast attendees will receive free access to the Sunday Ticket for the 2023 season. As part of its partnership with the NFL, YouTube’s original programming will include Game Day All Access. Dubbed “NFL Creator of the Week,” which features microphone players on the sidelines during a game, a new series of original YouTube shorts will debut on the league’s YouTube channel once the football season gets underway this year.
The YouTube Brandcast was held at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center. While other media companies’ front spots were cordoned off this week by WGA pickers, YouTube’s event was surprisingly absent from any writers — which isn’t surprising, given that almost everything on the video giant’s platform is produced by creators who aren’t members of the guild.
Also appearing on stage at Brandcast are top YouTube creators including Airrack, AllyiahsFace, Chicken Shop Date’s Amelia Dimoldenberg, Colin & Samir, Gunnar Deatherage and Michelle Khare – with musical performances from Doja Cat and Jacob Collier.
Mohan also amplified YouTube’s ability to leverage AI, saying, “Our teams are already using AI to show ads to the right audiences, to improve measurement or to flip creatives to reach viewers where they are.” But it’s really just the beginning, he said: “Simply put, AI will change the way we make videos. You can imagine that with just the click of a button, I can change my hair color or change my background to instantly transport myself from the desert to the jungle.”
New non-skippable 30-second ads will be available in YouTube Select, the top 5% of the most viewed and most engaging content on the service. These will provide marketers with “telling a tall story on those screens to build awareness and ROI for their brands,” said Sean Downey, Google’s head of ad sales. The new ad unit will be available first in the US before expanding internationally later this year. YouTube already sells batches of non-skippable 15-second ads, Downey said, “so it’s a seamless experience for viewers.”
Downey said YouTube’s pausing experiences will begin as an “experiment” for TV ad buyers. These would be “highly visible ads” that appeared when TV viewers pressed the pause button; He said the ads could include a QR code to allow the audience to interact with the brand. “We’ll see experimentation with brands on how they can increase engagement using pause experiences,” Downey said.
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