Along with the numerous announcements YouTube made during its Brandcast this month, the media platform took advantage of Radio City Music Hall’s expansive stage to integrate live performances from its talent lineup to emphasize how its content keeps viewers connected to culture.
“YouTube Creators are the cutting edge of culture, creating entirely new genres we could have never imagined beforehand and diversifying our perspectives in the process,” YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki said.
Those creators are helping YouTube to draw the audiences that attract advertisers, even as the platform battles against misuse and brand safety issues. YouTube has the highest share in reach and watch time among ad-supported OTT platforms, according to Comscore’s OTT Intelligence and Custom Reporting based on Total Home Panel, which measures usage of devices within the home. And YouTube Originals garnered more than 2.5 billion views across 50 shows, including Will Smith's The Jump, Liza Koshy’s Liza on Demand, and Cobra Kai.
During the digital newfront event, YouTube announced that all of its original series and specials will be available to watch for free with ads. YouTube also revealed the list of its new and returning original series, as well as specials focused on music (e.g. Untitled Top Secret Justin Bieber), learning (e.g., Could Your Survive the Movies) and personalities (e.g. Paris Hilton Documentary) — all of which will be free with ads. Returning series include Cobra Kai, Kevin Hart: What the Fit, Impulse, and Liza on Demand.
“Creators are driving record audiences to YouTube: 200 million people come to YouTube every single day just to watch gaming videos. That’s twice the audience of this year’s Super Bowl,” said Robert Kyncl, chief business officer of YouTube said.
The watch time of YouTube on TV screens tops 250 million hours per day, based on internal YouTube data. And, according to Nielsen Total Ad Ratings Meta Analysis, on average, more than 50% of the target audience reached by YouTube was incremental to TV.
“The reason our content resonates so strongly with viewers is due to the diversity and richness of our offering — and the ability for fans to interact with it and with each other,” Kyncl added.
For advertisers, YouTube TV’s 70 broadcast and cable channels will be available as its own lineup in the Google Preferred reservation program this upfront season. This will allow advertisers to access live and on-demand inventory and show-level exclusions, as well as access audiences based on their interests. Data from the Google/MediaScience Lab Experiment shows that YouTube’s Google Preferred ads on TV screens drove an average lift of 112% in ad recall and of 53% in purchase intent.
“YouTube gives us a direct line to our audience, allowing us to engage with them on their passions… We can reach the health-conscious person at the gym; the frequent flyer on the go; the young professional commuting to work and many more,” said Alison Lewis, global chief marketing officer of Johnson & Johnson.
Additionally, Google/YouTube are updating the Google Preferred proprietary algorithm (i.e., its P-score) — which selects among the top 5% of engaging and popular channels on YouTube — to include more of the content that viewers frequently watch on a TV screen, as well as content with higher production value. For advertisers looking to measure offline sales lift for US consumer packaged goods brands, Nielsen Catalina Solutions will be available for Google Preferred campaigns before the end of 2019.
“It is YouTube’s personalized approach that has enabled us to delve into topics that people truly care about and this is why users gravitate to our platform,” Wojcicki added. “Most people say the content they watched on YouTube is related to something that they are passionate about. And according to our joint research with Omnicom, relating to a passion is three times more important than whether or not there’s a big Hollywood name attached.”
Google has also been investing in external journalism, spending €140m (£121m) since 2015 on European projects alone.