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In December alone, more than 120 million people watched YouTube content on televisions.
As YouTube did at the 2019 and 2020 NewFronts, it focused this year’s star-studded presentation (aka Brandcast) on touting its TV screen reach, emphasizing its position as a real competitor for linear TV, and bidding hard for the ad dollars marketers would normally spend on traditional networks.
“At this point, even those of you who negotiated good rates are paying more for less every year,” Alan Thygesen, Google’s president of Americas, said during the showcase. “This is a moment. An inflection point to reset, reassess. If you were to start from zero and build based on where people are watching, you would start with streaming.”
YouTube’s December TV viewership wasn’t the only figure it offered. It revealed that each day, viewers watch more than one billion hours of content across TVs, desktop, and mobile. The platform also said that, in September 2020, it reached more TV viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 than all linear networks combined. (It’s worth noting that Roku‘s NewFronts presentation took a similar tack, zeroing in on how the streaming company’s 2021 March Madness viewership increased dramatically, while linear networks’ viewership decreased.)
On the heels of these numbers, YouTube highlighted upcoming ad products that will specifically allow brands to target TV viewers. One is Brand Extensions, which give viewers the option to send information about an ad on their TV screen to their phone.
“Brands will be able to measure conversions generated by brand extensions directly in Google Ads,” YouTube says.
Those will roll out globally later this year.
Another new ad product for marketers in the U.S.: YouTube Select Sponsorships. These are seasonal chunks of ad space that are themed around things like a specific holiday or cultural moment. Per YouTube, “The breadth of the seasonal slate means advertisers have a much wider variety of opportunities to celebrate diverse communities and topics, and reach their audiences where they are watching.”
Select Sponsorships are available now via upfront commitments and auctions, YouTube says.
Correction: A previous version of this story reported that YouTube users watch one billion hours of content per day on TV screens. That is not correct; the figure reflects all watch time, not just connected TV viewing.
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