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At YouTube Brandcast–from the Lincoln Center in New York City and in front of 1,000 or so advertisers, marketers, creators, and peers–Google’s President of Americas and Global Partners Sean Downey announced 30-second, non-skippable ads were coming to YouTube on connected TVs.
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The crowd audibly gasped before cheering.
It was the second most raucous moment of the evening. (The first was when YouTube’s Chief Business Officer Mary Ellen Coe announced all the attendees would be getting a free subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket.) I think it’s indicative of at least two main things:
- Main thing #1 is YouTube’s continued dedication to, and increasing dominance of, the living room. A favorably timed study from Nielsen that YouTube CEO Neal Mohan referenced on stage found that YouTube is the most-viewed streaming platform on connected TVs, accounting for 8.1% of all TV viewership in April.
- Main thing #2 is that ads are kinda hot right now.
Here are a couple more examples to illustrate that second one.
- Netflix’s inaugural Upfront was the same day as Brandcast. (It was supposed to take place at the Paris Theater in New York City–which Netflix owns–but then was switched to a virtual-only event because the powers that be didn’t want to deal with a few hundred individuals in WGA picket lines.) Co-CEO Greg Peters took the stage and announced Netflix has “more than doubled” the member base of its $6.99 per month ad-supported tier to a total of almost 5 million monthly active users globally just six months after launch. (25% of Netflix signups opt for the ads plan in countries where it’s offered, too.)
- Earlier in the month, at the NewFronts, Samsung announced that Conan O’Brien is exclusively coming to Samsung TV Plus by way of a FAST channel. FAST channels are probably the best and most accurate acronym in tech. (RSS’ Real Simple Syndication might be close, but word nerds will be the first to tell you it’s an initialism and not an acronym.) It stands for Free Ad-Supported Television. Samsung TV plus has 2,000 such channels. Other providers are Amazon Freevee, Pluto TV, Xumo, Tubi, and more. The channels are oftentimes dedicated to one single theme or show (as in the case of Conan, the ALF TV channel, Star Trek, etc., ad infinitum).
So everything old is new again and time is a circle and unskippable ad-supported television on your TV is one again an appealing way to consume content after years of no-ad-subscription services in your living room being the meta.
Welcome to the future of entertainment. It’s a lean-back of experience of watching whatever you want with some built-in bathroom breaks. And my co-host Lauren Schnipper and I talk all this and more in the latest installment of Creator Upload. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or whenever you listen. You’re gonna dig it.