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YouTube rolling out ad services to TV

April 30, 2018

YouTube is promising advertisers new ways to reach people watching YouTube on TV screens — as well as targeting YouTube ads to cord-cutters and consumers who don’t watch a lot of traditional TV.

YouTube says connected TVs represent its fastest-growing device category in part down to its over-the-top ‘skinny bundle’ pay-TV service launched last year.

While mobile accounts for over half of all YouTube videos viewed, users now watch more than 150 million hours daily of YouTube on television screens. That’s up 50 per cent from 100 million hours per day in the past six months. (One year ago, total viewing on YouTube was around 1 billion hours per day.)

“We are seeing more YouTube being watched on TV screens, and more TV content being watched on YouTube — it’s the ultimate convergence of video,” said Debbie Weinstein, managing director, YouTube/video global solutions at Google. “Advertisers are saying, ‘What are you building for me to reach YouTube viewers on TV?’”

Weinstein outlined three new ad propositions:

1. ‘Light TV viewers’ targeting: In the next few months, YouTube will introduce a new audience segment in AdWords called ‘light TV viewers.’ These are consumers who, based on Google and YouTube’s metrics, watch most of their TV and video content online — and are much less likely to subscribe to pay TV.

2. YouTube on TV screens: For the first time, advertisers will be able to reach audiences specifically on television screens through AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager. That option will join the existing ability to target YouTube viewers on smartphones, tablets, and desktops.

3. YouTube TV ad inventory will be available through Google Preferred: So far, Google hasn’t sold ads for its OTT ‘virtual pay-TV’ service. Starting in the fourth quarter of 2018, inventory on some US cable networks on YouTube TV will be available as an extension to Google Preferred, the premium ad program for the top 5 per cent most popular YouTube channels. Google and YouTube plan to begin selling the inventory starting this spring during the TV upfront seasons.

The ‘light TV viewers’ targeting — which will span ads across all device platforms — is particularly interesting to advertisers who are trying to reach audiences that have become very hard to find on conventional TV, Weinstein claims. More than 50 per cent of US consumers aged 18-49 in US are ‘light’ TV viewers (in the bottom one-third of the total TV audience based on minutes viewed), according to Nielsen. However, 90 per cent of that group watches YouTube videos, according to Weinstein.

Further, Google is looking to dial up the ad monetization on YouTube TV. First launched in April 2017, YouTube TV is now available in 99 of 100 top US designated market areas, reaching some 85 per cent of the nation’s TV households. As you’d expect, most viewing of YouTube TV is on TV, with television screens accounting for more than 70 per cent of the total watch-time.

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