YouTube Kicks Off Upfront Week With Research Asserting Its Bond With Viewers Is Tighter Than That Of TV, Streaming Or Social Media


As YouTube took its first step onto turf long controlled by television — upfronts week in New York — the Google-owned video operation released new research affirming its connection with viewers.

The new study conducted with the firm Talk Shoppe was summed up with the acronym RISE, short for relevance, intellectual, sensorial and emotional. It found that 86% of survey respondents said YouTube delivered relevant and intellectual programming, compared with results in the 73% to 79% range for other platforms. In terms of emotion, the number was 84%, edging social media at 80%. The lone category where YouTube did not come out No. 1 was in sensorial — aka the way programming looks and sounds — where it rated 72% and trailed streaming’s 76%.

The study, commissioned by YouTube parent Google, surveyed 2,000 respondents aged 18-64 in the U.S. from January 11 to 21.

The stats were delivered as part of a breakfast hosted at the St. Regis Hotel. Tara Walpert-Levy, VP of the Americas for YouTube, delivered remarks along with Andrew Robertson, CEO of ad agency BBDO, and prominent creator Mark Rober.

YouTube has shifted away from professionally produced content over the past couple of years, winding down its foray into subscription streaming in 2019 and making YouTube Originals free and supported by advertising. Its constellation of creators, with hundreds of channels all boasting at least 1 million subscribers, is now the strategic focus. The new research highlighted this refined positioning, with findings including one that respondents were 4.2 times more likely than the average to agree with the statement that “telling a good story” is more important than programming being “made by an established production company.”

During a brief Q&A period with press, Walpert-Levy was asked for updates on the company’s plans for advertising on YouTube Shorts, the company’s short-form outlet formed as a response to TikTok’s surging popularity. She said an announcement would likely come by the end of the year, but indicated it is likely to follow the revenue-sharing model of YouTube in general.

The company says it has paid more than $30 billion to creators, artists, and media companies in the three years leading up to November 2020 and views the Shorts community as a new community of creators.

YouTube’s Brandcast pitch to advertisers, traditionally held during the NewFronts in early May, has shifted into the main upfront week and is set to unfold Tuesday night.

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