NewFronts News: YouTube adds to Google Premium

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Video has been the theme of this year’s NewFronts. Along those lines, YouTube announced new channels and programmatic capabilities, as well Google Preferred Breakout.

Three NewFronts ago, YouTube unveiled Google Preferred, which makes it easier for advertisers to buy into the top-tier content on the site and measure its videos. At last night’s Brandcast at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, the main announcements were expansions to Google Preferred.

Now, marketers can buy advertising programmatically through DoubleClick Bid Manager. In addition, YouTube launched Google Preferred Breakout, which can also be purchased programmatically and gives brands access to the videos that are trending at the moment.

“You can’t predict what ‘the next big thing’ is going to be. Every day, a new video rises up and catches fire,” said Susan Wojcicki, chief executive (CEO) of YouTube. “Now you can be sure your brand is featured alongside the hottest and fastest-rising videos.”

Though the message was the same – online video is an extraordinarily powerful medium – Brandcast was very different from the other NewFronts in execution. NewFronts events typically involve good food and celebrity appearances, following executives from the media giant in question giving presentations about what they’ve got in store for the coming year.

Wojcicki was onstage very briefly, talking about some of the video giant’s successes – 18- to 49-year-olds spend more time watching videos on the platform than any TV network, for instance – and its stars. A survey conducted by Variety found that of American teens’ 10 favorite celebrities, eight are YouTube stars.

“YouTube enables a level of intimacy between creators and viewers that TV and film just cannot match. That has transformed what it means to be a celebrity today,” said Wojcicki.

She then left the stage, making room for a revolving door of YouTube creators: brands, agencies, regular people who have become celebrities on the platform, Big Bird. All of those people sharing their own experiences, rather than Wojcicki relaying them herself, gave Brandcast more a of a “show, don’t tell” feel.

Toyota’s videos have seen so much engagement and brand lift that YouTube has been moved from the brand’s experimental budget to the “tried and true” budget. Nigel Morris, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Americas & EMEA, pointed out that YouTube trumps TV in all the ways TV has always trumped every other kind of marketing.

“TV has been the most successful advertising platform for 70 years because it’s got a powerful combination of sight, sound and motion,” he said. “Online video is even more powerful because it’s got sight, sound and motion, but it’s personalized.”

Lilly Singh, a Canadian YouTuber whose IISuperwomanII channel has 8.6 million subscribers, pointed out that while everyone who took the stage comes from drastically different places, they ultimately have the same goal.

“How do you keep people’s attention in a sea of excellent content being created every day?” she asked. “We have more in common than we might think. We all want to build connections with the audience that last a lifetime.”

Given what a valuable marketing tool YouTube videos have become, the other announcement at Brandcast made sense. Google Preferred will soon have many new series in a wide variety of categories, including VR programming from the NBA and a Sesame Street channel on YouTube Kids.

After announcing the latter, Big Bird obliged Singh’s request to take a selfie with him. When he asked her to tag him, she asked, “Big Bird, I didn’t know you have social media.”

“Oh yeah,” he replied. “All birds tweet.”

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