Will YouTube Finally Make Inroads In The Upfront Market?

YouTube has been around for a long time. But what is its connection with the traditional TV advertising market?

Perhaps, not enough.

Many tend to focus on the big five video streaming services — Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+and YouTube — which comprise 82% of all U.S. streaming video consumption, according to Comscore.

But just two of the five are ad-supported. Overall, YouTube command 41% of all ad-supported digital video advertising revenue.

More importantly, says Neil Mohan, Chief Product Officer of YouTube, in a blog: “Starting this year, advertisers in the U.S. will be able to measure their YouTube CTV campaigns through a third-party provider, Nielsen.” And it's just in time for the upfront ad selling season.

So, will longtime TV brand advertisers that spend millions on upfront deals with the TV networks look to move a bit more dollars to YouTube, the Google ad-supported video service?



For sometime, under its Google Preferred marketplace, which had curated brand-safe, high-value TV advertising inventory, advertisers have been doing that. The content had gleaned the top 5% of brand-friendly channels. But, as is the case in OTT/CTV land, ad inventory can be limited.

The Google Preferred video market started in 2014 — before the pandemic, before today’s more accelerated live, linear TV advertising ratings declines. Google Preferred was replaced by YouTube Select in May of last year.

Overall, Google says YouTube's ad revenue grew 36% in 2019 totaling $15 billion. (By contrast, eMarketer, projects Hulu gets to $3 billion.)

Of course, much of YouTube's ad revenue is user-generated, short-form stuff. But now, with ever more scattered premium TV and video impressions, is this the year major brand advertisers extend their efforts to include alternatives?

U.S. TV viewers/users have definitely made a notable shift into the streaming space. But what is the breaking point when it comes to making sizable upfront commitments -- a la the legacy TV networks -- for new or relatively young digitally based video platforms?

1 comment about "Will YouTube Finally Make Inroads In The Upfront Market?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 18, 2021 at 11:49 a.m.

    Wayne, the only chance that YouTube has to woo big time national TV advertisers in a meaningful way in the near future is by offering quality, long form content---not user generated stuff---and presenting it with in-show breaks for commercials, hopefully with limited ad clutter. And, with this must come some way to avoid encouraging viewers not to watch the ads as well as proper and independently ascertained audience metrics. Of course interactive capabilities and "better" targeting methods are a plus, but to get the ball rolling you must offer something that advertisers are comfortable with---like "TV"---as opposed to trying to change their mindsets and turn branding people into direct response folks. That's not what most of them do.

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