The new YouTube TV, which will carry more than 30 cable channels and provide a showcase for YouTube, was announced on Tuesday. The news comes shortly after YouTube released data that showed its viewership has reached 1 billion hours a day worldwide.
This is a nutty statistic, totally worthless as far as I can tell, but as an indication of the overwhelming growth of digital video, it’s quite the thing.
As the DailyDot points out, “This achievement (a 10-fold increase over our viewing habits from five years ago) isn't just notable because it's a big number. YouTube viewership is on pace to beat TV viewership, which Nielsen reports is around 1.25 billion hours per day, but has been steadily dropping in recent years.”
Here’s an interesting thing. Those views accelerated since YouTube began building out its algorithms in 2012. Its AI ability to recommend videos is paying off, and with YouTube TV getting ready, advertisers should be able to measure and track not only YouTube views, but the same kind of data for cable networks.
They’ll also be able to see how YouTube stacks up, oranges to oranges (the use of “apples” seems confusing in this context.)
“From an advertiser’s perspective, it’s a huge opportunity for attribution,” says Molly Schweickert, head of digital at Cambridge Analytica, “because when people are streaming TV and they go online from there to make purchases, that’s incredible for advertising. It’s also an opportunity for YouTube to improve its targeting because it’s going to see what TV content people are viewing, which isn’t necessarily an insight they’ve had before.”
She calls it the “best of both worlds” for advertisers--a “TV experience with tracking and targeting that is par with digital.” If YouTube TV attracts subscribers in the same way YouTube itself does--at least a third of the nearly 3,000 young adults Fluent polled last August said they go to YouTube every day--cable network advertisers could be getting some pinpointed, fresh information.
Schweickert mentions something else; digital advertising accessed via mobile devices often runs without audio and just for a few seconds. But if YouTube TV is watched on a conventional TV, both modes may need a rethink, one way or the other.
I’m just as curious about YouTube content itself. Obviously, as noted at the start, YouTube, with 180 million U.S. users, does not lack for viewers of all types, but YouTube TV beckons to attract cable cord cutters who might have a more casual relationship with YouTube and might be surprised by the edginess of YouTube favorites.
Before YouTube TV and a couple other announcements recently, YouTube had cracked the news pages lately for being the home base for PewDiePie, accused of spewing anti-Semitic material. Other ugliness--bullying, racist or other ugly-type videos make the news all the time. Access to stuff like that on the family-room TV might not go down well.
That's because YouTube is becoming ... YouTubeTV, and that comes with certain hassles — but a lot of good data.