At Its 2019 Brandcast, YouTube Touts Its Big Screen Reach


For YouTube, it’s all about the big TV screen.

At least, that was the messaging the Google-owned video platform pushed during its Brandcast event Thursday evening at Radio City Music Hall, where CEO Susan Wojcicki trotted out the stats.

“The 2 billion users who log into YouTube each month are watching their favorite content on a variety of screens,” she said, “but the fastest growing screen is the living room.”

She pointed out that YouTube has the highest reach and share of watch time among all ad-supported over-the-top platforms as measured by Comscore. Watch time now tops 250 million hours per day.

YouTube is now making more of its premium TV screen inventory available through Google Preferred, where watch time increased 30% year-over-year, said YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl.

YouTube TV, a live subscription bundle with 70 broadcast and cable channels, will also be available in this year’s upfronts as a stand-alone purchase option.

And, Google will offer a new sales lift metric for CPGs, powered by Nielsen Catalina Solutions.

But despite all of the avenues YouTube is opening to buy brand safe content on its platform, Wojcicki made a point to address brand safety, noting how YouTube removes “millions of videos” each quarter and has launched an intelligence test and transparency report that details which videos were deleted and why.

“I recognize there’s still work to be done, but we’re recommitted to getting this right,” she said.

Despite brand safety issues, big advertisers can’t stay away from YouTube. Just two years after pulling its ads in the midst of the 2017 brand safety advertiser boycott, Johnson & Johnson has increased its spend on the platform by 250% since 2015.

“YouTube helps us to reach audiences we can’t with TV,” said J&J CMO Alison Lewis. “We’ve never seen this kind of ROI before.”

Content for all

As this was a NewFront event, YouTube also trotted out a number of new originals featuring its own homegrown creators, as well as stars like comedians Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart and Grammy-winner Alicia Keys, who performed for media buyers at the after party.

The platform also announced it will not paywall any of its original content as other media companies “race to put their content behind a paywall,” Kyncl said. YouTube originals garnered 2.5 billion views across 50 shows last year.

“YouTube originals will always include an ad-supported window,” he said.

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