…This couldn’t be happening to a more worthy group of people…on both sides of the kick:
by Ben Popper
For the last three years, YouTube has put on a series of increasingly extravagant parties meant to convince advertisers that the video platform is the best place to spend their marketing dollars. The fourth annual Brandcast took place last night at the Javits Center, and compared with previous versions, it was decidedly more self-assured. In the past, YouTube spent a lot of time assuring the brands in attendance that its content was safe, high-quality, and watched by more than just bored teenagers. This time YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki cut to the chase.
“Today, I’m happy to announce that on mobile alone YouTube now reaches more 18–49-year-olds than any network — broadcast or cable. In fact, we reach more 18–49-year-olds during primetime than the top 10 TV shows combined,” she said, citing data from a Nielsen study of US viewers commissioned by Google. “At a time when TV networks are losing audiences, YouTube is growing in every region and across every screen.”
Those numbers are a bit vague. We don’t know exactly how many people are watching, or whether any individual channel comes close to matching the reach of network TV programming. Most importantly, that doesn’t break out what percentage of the audience is watching Google Preferred content, the pre-approved brand-safe stuff that nets big ad dollars, versus the long tail of cat videos and home movies that have steadily dwindling value. Still, it seemed clear that YouTube’s clout was not lost on the agencies handling big budgets. Wojcicki used her time on stage to announce that Interpublic Group, one of the world’s largest ad holding companies, planned to shift $250 million from traditional TV networks to YouTube over the next year.
YouTube had lots of its creators on hand to help demonstrate its cultural clout, and the display was impressive. The rapper Silento performed “Watch Me,” the track behind the biggest dance craze of the last year. Andra Day told the story of being an unknown musician sharing her songs on YouTube, where she was discovered. And she brought the house down with a performance of her Grammy-nominated track “Rise Up,” a track with lyrics that are now plastered across 40 million Coca-Cola cups at McDonalds across the nation….