YouTube’s Explosive Growth; S4 Has ‘Fighting Chance’ To Make Its Numbers

YouTube logo on TV screen

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YouTube Flexes

YouTube represents a quarter of all AVOD and SVOD viewership in the United States, growing 80% year over year, per Comscore. Among ad-supported services, YouTube has the highest reach and streaming hours, the company said in a blog post. Time spent watching live content on YouTube on TV screens grew 250% in March, as people sheltered at home. Episodic TV show audiences grew 125% YoY, while feature length films were up 8x. People are watching more news on YouTube TV too, to the tune of 450% in March. A quarter of the time people watch YouTube on their TV screens, they’re watching with other people, according to Nielsen data. Amid this growth, YouTube has accelerated the launch of its skippable ad format and its brand lift measurement tool for video ads on TV screens.

S4’s Fortunes

S4 Capital’s reported revenues grew 73% year over year in Q1 to roughly $88 million. MediaMonks grew reported revenues 89% to $70 million, and MightyHive’s revenues were up 32% to about $18 million. S4 was impacted by COVID-19 but still has “a fighting chance” to reach its three-year goal of doubling in size organically on a like-for-like basis, the company said in a press release. As for clients, it’s a mixed bag. Tech companies, which make up half of S4’s revenue, continue to increase their investments in digital media and programmatic. The other half (majority CPG, retail and pharma) are cutting or reducing spend, and travel has stalled out entirely.

Local News’s COVID-19 Plight

Gannett’s coronavirus coverage accrued more than 650 million views since mid-February. But the company, the largest operator of local newspapers, as well as the national paper USA Today, experienced a $17 million revenue miss due to the pandemic. Out of $949 million in overall revenue for the quarter, digital advertising accounted for $219 million. Gannett previously implemented furloughs at the end of March to cut more than $100 million in costs and improve cash flow until advertiser demand and the economy improves. Before the virus upended business and people’s lives, Gannett was “actually pacing ahead of expectations for revenue and EBITDA,” CEO Michael Reed told investors.

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