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Each month, more than 100 million U.S.-based users watch YouTube content on their TV screens.
That stat was chief among the figures YouTube revealed this morning at Brandcast, its annual NewFronts presentation. Like it did at last year’s showcase, the world’s largest video sharing site talked up its increasing presence on TV screens, emphasizing itself as a real challenger for traditional TV networks–and thus a real contender for the ad investment marketers normally put there.
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Beyond TV screens and citing data from measurement and analytics firm Comscore (and referring to itself as an “ad-supported streaming service”), YouTube said it now reaches 77% of households that stream ad-supported digital content. Over the last two months, it has reached more people and netted more watch time than any other AVOD service, it added. And in March, YouTube content alone accounted for 41% of AVOD streaming watch time on U.S. TVs, the company said.
So, how much watch time are we talking? At its 2019 Brandcast, YouTube said 250 million hours of content were watched on TV screens every single day. At this year’s, it said TV watch time has increased by 80% over last year. That means users are watching around 450 million hours of YouTube content on TV screens each day.
A lot of that watch time is dedicated to live events, YouTube said. Viewership of live events on TV screens shot up 250% in March, as the COVID-19 lockdowns went into effect. The increase may have encouraged the company to amp up its live events production, resulting in originals like MrBeast’s Creator Games (which became YouTube’s most-watched live event ever in April and will receive a second installment), the star-studded Dear Class of 2020 (which then replaced Creator Games as the most-watched live event ever), and Stephen Curry’s forthcoming Ultimate Home Championship.
YouTube’s new ad products let marketers specifically target TV viewers
Other content categories that have seen a jump in viewership during the pandemic–though not necessarily on TV screens–include: cooking videos (45% from the same time period last year); videos related to sourdough bread — a quarantine craze (up 400% from January to May); and home workout videos (up 200% in March compared to the rest of 2020).
In her own short NewFronts presentation, Danielle Tiedt, YouTube’s chief marketing officer, attributed growing traffic to the voices of creators. “YouTube gives people access to different perspectives other than their own and endless ways to explore,” she said. “YouTube is video for everyone, and as times change for viewers, YouTube continues to be the constant source of inspiration and connection and happiness and empowerment for people. We serve a really critical role in their lives, helping them to develop themselves.”
On the back of revealing viewership stats, YouTube gave a rundown of ad products it’s recently introduced. Those include YouTube Select, which is replacing Google Preferred and lets marketers place ads specifically on YouTube content watched via TV screen, and video action campaigns, which offer ad placements across multiple high-traffic areas on YouTube. It also noted that it has launched its preroll market survey tool, Brand Lift, onto TV screens, retooling it so users can answer questions with their remotes.
YouTube additionally made a number of content announcements, renewing originals like James Charles‘ Instant Influencer, Marques Brownlee‘s Retro Tech, and Liza Koshy‘s Liza on Demand. You can catch up on those here.
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