According to eMarketer’s latest quarterly Digital Video Trends report, 36.4% of YouTube’s watch time this year came through connected TV devices.
That’s up from 34.4% in 2021 and 30.5% in 2020.
eMarketer expects the sector to continue growing, too: 2023 should see 38.1% of YouTube viewership come from connected TV, and 2024 should see 39.2%, it forecasts.
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The biggest chunk of YouTube viewing is still done on mobile, to the tune of 49.3% of watch time this year. That’s slightly down from last year’s 50.4%. And, like it expects connected TV viewership to continue trending upward, eMarketer expects mobile viewing with continue to trend down, to 48.5% next year and 47.9% in 2024.
It is important to note, though, that eMarketer says it accounts for multitasking in its report. So, for example, if someone is watching YouTube on a connected TV device but browsing on their phone at the same time, eMarketer counts that as one hour for TV and one hour for mobile. (eMarketer isn’t the only one to recognize that most people watching on connected TV will be using their phones simultaneously: YouTube’s building features catering to that very scenario.)
Why is this worth paying attention to?
Because YouTube really, really wants to compete with traditional TV networks. For several years now it has touted connected device viewership, positioning itself as a contender for the ad dollars marketers would normally spend on running commercials against TV programs.
YouTube’s bid for ad dollars has become so competitive it debuted its 2022 Brandcast event at the TV Upfronts rather than the digital NewFronts, as it had done for years before.
eMarketer’s report confirms that connected TV is becoming an increasingly sizable driver of views for YouTube—and thus an increasingly important focus for driving TV-sized ad revenue, especially when Shorts are sapping viewership from long-form content.