Google/YouTube Digital 2013

2013 NewFronts: Google/YouTube

YouTube announced some eyebrow-raising milestones:

  • People are now watching 50% more on YouTube than they did last year.
  • 1 billion people are visiting YouTube globally every month.
  • Citing Nielsen, YouTube now reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network.

YouTube’s Brandcast presentation had one overarching theme: reaching and engaging with the 18-34 year old consumer. Instead of continuing to showcase the video site’s much talked about original content initiative, which served as the centerpiece to last year’s NewFront, this year YouTube opted to place a spotlight on the content creators who have already built a following on the site and are regularly engaging with the 18-34 demo — creators like Felicia Day and her Geek & Sundry channel, Brian Robbins and his AwesomenessTV channel (and soon-to-be multichannel network), and even brands like Red Bull Media House and GoPro.

When asked why YouTube elected this path with this year’s NewFront presentation, Robert Kyncl, Global Head of Content Partnerships at YouTube, said: “We are just pronouncing where we are the strongest.” That’s not to say that YouTube doesn’t have great content for other audiences. But as YouTube will “grow up” with the 18-34 demo, it plans to “lean in” on that audience quite heavily, he said.

With that in mind, YouTube’s presentation dealt less with new programs and channels (which, considering the size of YouTube and the fact that it’s not really a programmer, would be incredibly difficult to do in 2-3 hours). Instead, the event was more concerned with educating advertisers about 18-34 year olds on YouTube, and how the site is able to help them reach this increasingly powerful demographic.

Generation C: The “connected generation,” as defined by Nielsen, is very connected and consumes media on its own terms. YouTube partnered with research firm Ipsosto survey people that fall into the Gen C psychographic about how they consume media. Here’s what the study uncovered:

  • 66% of respondents either spend the same amount of time watching online video as they do watching TV or watch more online video than TV. To break it down even more, YouTube said almost 33% of Gen C spends more time watching online video than TV.
  • 46% of respondents say YouTube is an alternative to TV.
  • 51% of respondents say watching a YouTube video about a product or service has influenced purchasing decisions.
  • 70% subscribe to one or more YouTube channels.
  • 52% say they often share YouTube videos with other people they know.
  • Nearly 40% actively go to YouTube to interact with their favorite brands.

Interactivity is key on YouTube, according to Robert Kyncl: “I thought YouTube was like TV. It isn’t. TV is one way [communication]. YouTube talks back. It’s interactive. TV means reach. YouTube means engagement.” To that end, Kyncl spent a lot of time on the importance of cultivating loyal audiences on YouTube. “Felicia [Day’s] audience are not viewers — they’re fans,” said Kyncl. “It’s fans like these that make a view on YouTube worth more than an impression on TV.” Since brands are seeking to connect with audiences in a more direct way online, this type of thinking also applies to brands, he argued.

To get brands more comfortable with increasing their video investments on YouTube, the company unveiled even more numbers. With the help of analytics firm MarketShare, YouTube developed media allocation models for five categories: smartphones, auto insurance, credit cards, cosmetics, and entry level luxury auto sales. Based on anonymous and aggregated data, MarketShare says shifting on average 5% of media spend to YouTube can generate a 1-3% sales lift, at no additional cost.

DreamWorks Buys AwesomenessTV for $33 million: AwesomenessTV caters to the younger audiences, and currently reaches 500,000 subscribers. The company has plans to expand into a full-fledged multichannel network on YouTube, pushing its reach to 14 million subscribers across more than 55,000 channels. Per the deal, AwesomenessTV Founder and CEO Brian Robbins will continue to oversee the company. DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said Brian Robbins, Founder and CEO of AwesomenessTV, will “keep doing what he is doing” for the video channel and company. Robbins will assume an as-of-yet-unnamed executive role at DreamWorks Animation and will also be charged with developing DreamWorks Animation-branded digital family channel, tapping into the studio’s resources, technology, and intellectual property. The deal, which is expected to close later this month, also includes contingent cash payments if AwesomenessTV meets “certain” earnings targets in 2014 and 2015. If it does, AwesomenessTV could net as much as $117 million in additional payments.

Programming & Sponsorships

Partnership with ANA Alliance for Family Entertainment (AFE): ANA AFE is a consortium of top advertisers like Subway, Unilever, Verizon Wireless, and Walmart. These AFE advertisers will buy programming under YouTube’s AFE “Family Entertainment” media package, which includes popular and family-relevant content on the video site’s education, beauty and fashion, science, sports, music, gaming, health and fitness, culinary, news, and “mom interest” channels. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. YouTube plans to offer similar media packages to advertisers around different genres and types of content.

Some content-related announcements were made during the event:

Felicia Day’s Geek & Sundry channel will launch a series of v-logs. “We are starting with 10 and will pick 10 more,” Day announced from the stage.

Sal Masekela, Host of the Red Bull Signature Series, announced Red Bull Assembly, which appears to be an action-sports extravaganza featuring the top 100 action-sports athletes duking it out in various competitions. He called it “Sports-chella” (referencing the annual Coachella music festival). Red Bull Assembly will feature various brand integration opportunities.

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