Entertainment is becoming more global, mobile, social and interactive. And “that’s exactly the world we’re creating at YouTube along with all of you,” the service’s CEO Susan Wojcicki told advertisers today at the Google company’s NewFront presentation in New York.
Per usual, execs focussed on the power of the platform to reach a committed audience, as opposed to particular shows.
Universal Studios marketing chief Josh Goldstine told the gathering that the Comcast-owned company has embraced YouTube — and “this year we’re doubling down.” For example, it’s releasing Pitch Perfect 2, a sequel to a film that became surprisingly profitable due to the studio’s targeted advertising online. “It really is only a wager when you don’t know the outcome,” Goldstine said. “Even by spending less than we ever thought possible, we were able to attract more awareness in our core demo.”
He acknowledged that TV “has an undeniable power.” But “the dynamic digital model that YouTube has created is the best thing out there.”
Google’s head of content and business operations Robert Kyncl was less timid about attacking traditional television. “After a decade of hype, cord cutting is happening fast,” he said. And in five years, he predicts, “the majority of advertiser-supported video will take place on a mobile device.”
Wojcicki said YouTube now beats every cable network in reaching 18- to 49-year-olds and does so just through its reach on mobile platforms. The total number of visitors is up 40% over the last year “and they’re spending more time on YouTube than ever,” the exec said.
With “near-instant feedback … we’ll help your brand tell your story,” she added.
In talking up the platform, she said YouTube’s Bethany Mota, GloZell Green and Hank Green — not Charlie Rose — had “the most talked-about interview the president did this year.” She pointed to Hillary Clinton’s decision to launch her presidential campaign via a video posted on YouTube.
John Green, a YouTube star who wrote the best-selling novel The Fault In Our Stars, delivered the event’s most powerful presentation, describing YouTube’s growing audience for educational material. These viewers are “dramatically undervalued by advertisers” as they build “a world where they don’t have to depend on advertising, and they are thriving.”
While “CSI:Miami is incredibly good at distracting us” from personal doubts, Green, said, “we are not in the distraction business. We’re in the community business.” Advertisers who stay in “the eyeball business” risk “losing relevance with an entire gneration of viewers looking for connection.”
The company brought on Margo Georgiadis, President of Americas, Sales, to help close the deal with advertisers. The company hopes to “blur the lines between advertising and content creation” on “a platform for telling your amazing brand stories at scale.”