YouTube kicked off its NewFronts pitch with a star-studded gala event featuring stars led by James Corden, where it unveiled a host of programming airing exclusively on the video-sharing site with Johnson & Johnson slated as the exclusive advertiser of a new show Best.Cover.Ever an online talent show fronted by Ryan Seacrest and featuring Katy Perry, who rounded off the evening on stage.
YouTube used the pitch to unveil half-a-dozen original ad-funded series, including: Ellen’s Show Me More Show; What the Fit?, fronted by Kevin Hart; The Super Slow Show; plus a special called Katy Perry Live, which will be used to preview her next studio album launch.
Johnson & Johnson has been confirmed as the first advertising partner of this new content initiative through Google Preferred, with YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki kicking off proceedings by acknowledging (as well as apologizing) for the recent brand safety outcry.
“We realize that with that openness comes responsibility,” she said. “We apologize for letting some of you down… I’m here to say that we can and will do better,” she said, adding that over the past several weeks its team has been working to amend its brand safety shortcomings.
In front of thousands of media buyers Wojcicki further went on to reveal some statistics highlighting how YouTube is now part of mainstream media consumption, claiming that during primetime more 18-49 year-olds visit YouTube than any of the large traditional TV networks, citing internal research.
“The media world has changed, the platforms of the future are not the same as the ones of the past,” she told attendees.
“YouTube is not TV. And we never will be. The platform that you all helped create represents something bigger. Together with our creators, you built one of the most dynamic, creative and inspiring communities in history: millions of voices, creating hundreds of millions of videos, all being watched by over a billion people.”
She went on to add: “Users don’t come to YouTube for polish, they come to YouTube for texture, and they come to see the world as it truly is.”
Robert Kyncl, YouTube, chief business officer, also took to the stage to highlight how the video-sharing network aims to buck the trend towards the online entertainment industry shifting towards ad-free platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
“That’s why, starting in 2016, we made the decision to take YouTube to the next level. We began making premium original content for our subscription service, YouTube Red, releasing 30 series and movies in just over a year,” reads a blog post attributed to the YouTube executive. “And we kept hearing from brands they wanted to be more involved in these premium series.”
It went on to read: “We’re thrilled to announce that beginning later this year, some of the biggest YouTube creators and Hollywood names will be featured in seven new series on YouTube—bringing more can’t-get-enough-of and can’t-find-anywhere-else shows to everyone, everywhere.”
Other stars participating in the gala event included Casey Neistat who said his YouTube content generated 8 billion views on the video sharing network, compared to uninspiring rating when his show was aired on more traditional TV networks.
He added that “those aren’t mindless clicks.. those are over 8 billion engaged minutes.”
Also included in the host of announcements was news of an Ellen DeGeneres-fronted show Ellen’s Show Me More Show, a brand new series produced by and featuring the talk show star and comedienne, as well as some of the biggest celebrities in the world.
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