Liveblogging YouTube’s NewFront: All Eyes On Brand Safety

8 p.m. Katy Perry. That’s all.

7:40 p.m. Google Preferred FTW Google Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl claimed Google Preferred (translation: Google’s top tier videos) has tripled its number of advertisers. Kyncl credited YouTube for turning publishers like BuzzFeed, Vice and AwesomenessTV into “daily destinations of can’t-miss programming.”

Consumers watch over 1 billion of hours of video on YouTube daily, he added, and YouTube plans to partner even more with celebrities (Ryan Seacrest, Katy Perry, Ellen, etc.) on exclusive series.

“I’m happy to say we’ve seen tremendous interest in [our originals] from advertisers,” he said. “J&J is the exclusive sponsor of one of these new shows.”

7:25 p.m. The CMO Speaks

Samsung USA CMO Marc Mathieu extolled YouTube’s content creators. Sticking with the theme of “authenticity,” Mathieu said Samsung needs “more partners, creators and likeminded brands in this room.” By “creator,” he clarified, that means anyone with an idea, a mobile device and a proper cell signal.

“Partners like YouTube push the boundaries of creative, [making] a more emotionally engaged society,” he said. “More than ever, we believe we have the tools – you have the tools –  to make a moment. What will you do?”

7:15 p.m. We’re Sorry

After taking a few minutes to thank Google advertisers (“Ever since YouTube started, your support has been crucial.”), Wojcicki dived into a flat-out apology for YouTube’s recent brand safety snafu.

“We apologize for letting some of you down and we can and will do better,” she said. “You told us to do better when it comes to ad placements and I want you to know we’ve taken your feedback to heart.”

She said that YouTube is working with “trusted third parties” like Integral Ad Science and comScore to ensure ads show up where brands want them. 

7 p.m. We Are Not TV

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki took the stage at the Javits Center in New York City to open Brandcast.

In a complete departure from last year, Wojcicki proclaimed: “YouTube is not TV and it never will be. … This platform helped you create something bigger. It is a dynamic, creative and inspiring community. And our users don’t come to YouTube for polish. They come to YouTube for texture. They come to YouTube to see the world as it truly is.”

6 p.m. The Backdrop It’s close to kickoff time here at the Google-YouTube Brandcast event in New York, the annual advertiser presentation everyone’s anticipating (save for maybe Google, in light of recent events).

Google Brandcast 2016 went heavy on the TV pitch, as Google sought to position itself as a scaled alternative to cable, but this year might open up the dialogue around context and content.

The big question this year is whether Google will address the 800-pound gorilla in the auditorium. Brand safety is on the minds of the whole industry, in the wake of a fiasco in which more than 250 advertisers pulled their spend from both YouTube and Google programmatic display.

They want far better brand-safety measures from their video partner.

Is YouTube prepared to give it to them?

Stay tuned for updates from Brandcast throughout the evening.



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