Traditional TV Media Buyers Scratch Heads As Google Cracks Down On Unsafe Video

Google is looking to clean up its Google Preferred video service that it offers through YouTube. So what does that mean for TV upfront buyers?

For the last few years, big TV upfront media agency executives have increasingly used the Google Preferred channels -- which represent the top 5% of all YouTube content -- as a supplement to broadcast, cable and national syndication buys for their upfront dealings.

But due to continuing issues regarding inappropriate content -- the latest being Logan Paul’s video of a dead body on his channel -- Google has had to install new measures to make its video brand safe for advertisers.



All this dings things up a bit. That's because TV media-buying executives -- over the last two years or so -- have largely expressed their approval in buying Google Preferred for their media-buying clients. Their only concern was that they could not buy enough of it.

Now, heading into next year's upfront market, that level of inventory looks to be shrinking due to issues around some unsafe advertising inventory.

So where do big TV-centric upfront marketers go now for their video efforts? Surely they will look at the other big digital video player -- Facebook. But the content there can be iffy as well.

Although buying more cable TV networks or syndication would be other possibilities, perhaps the biggest potential growth area could be with big broadcast/cable networks-owned ad-supported digital video areas -- including the likes of Hulu, CBS All Access, and other network-owned video apps and platforms.

Right now, all those network-owned digital areas may not amount to much -- perhaps pulling around $3 billion to $3.3 billion a year collectively, according to a rough estimate. For 2016, UBS media analyst Doug Mitchelson estimated digital video advertising for traditional TV companies was projected to reach $2.1 billion in 2016.

The most recent upfront TV marketplace, in June/July 2017,  witnessed a return to some revenue ad growth for traditional TV networks -- with much of this resulting from digital media's safety issues.  

Going forward, seasoned TV selling executives are pushing new measures to keep TV marketers coming back -- especially with new first-party and third-party data ROI measures attached to buys that advertisers increasingly want.

Still, these are not yet the norm for most upfront deals. All that means looking for more video alternatives -- with brand safety issues continuing to lurk in the background.

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