What Marketers Need to Know About YouTube TV

Yesterday Google announced the launch of YouTube TV, a US$35 bundle that lets subscribers watch more than 40 TV channels, including all four major U.S. broadcast networks.

The announcement is not serendipitous in the slightest – we all saw this coming. How my fellow digital media buyers & planners take YouTube’s audience claims and value proposition is another story altogether. In a world that has purchased DVR and downloaded adblockers to communicate annoyance towards ads, marketers must not clog the breaks sold by YouTube with even more ads which only lap on top of those already in the programs. As a digital marketer, you will need to weigh the possibility of annoying a viewer with yet another intrusive ad.

In an interview with WSJ, Neal Mohan claimed that the platform crossed an average of one billion hours of video a day, stating it exceeded 2016’s numbers. However, the image below suggests that the total number of YouTube streams were relatively flat to declining in the 2nd half of 2016. 

Clearly, something does not add up. Perhaps this particular piece of “audience data” needs independent verification. Which is a movement P&G’s Marc Pritchard is strongly pushing for from agencies and media partners. Clearly, with good reason too.

It seems that YouTube TV is trying to insinuate itself into the spot cable business by selling national ads to advertisers who do not happen to be in the same shows. That’s not a very attractive proposition unless YouTube TV can tailor its buys on a market by market basis. Doing so creates many issues like ‘what do you do with those geographies that nobody wants?’. Or maybe YouTube is counting on some sort of geographical profiling system to make its offerings attractive to advertisers. Otherwise, how does YouTube determine who is watching and their marketing value? Perhaps, by analyzing their other online activities via Google? It sounds very experimental and if ad sales don’t pan out as expected, can YouTube continue to charge subs “skinny” subscriber rates?

Or maybe YouTube is counting on some sort of geographical profiling system to make its offerings attractive to advertisers. Otherwise, how does YouTube determine who is watching and their marketing value? Perhaps, by analyzing their other online activities via Google? It sounds very experimental and if ad sales don’t pan out as expected, can YouTube continue to charge subs “skinny” subscriber rates?

It’s likely that your agency qualifies for Google’s rebates program and will be pushing this new ad format towards you, even on an experimental level. While there is no harm in entertaining the pitch, be sure to raise the questions mentioned here to make sure your ad dollars are being spent wisely.

Ignoring the bigger picture is risky. Forrester Research published a 2017 report that said one-third of CMO’s would be fired in 2017 for failing tp upskill in digital. Many a marketer have fallen into the ‘fear of missing out’ trap and become yet another statistic of the report.

Ask questions, you have every right.

Are thinking about adding a shiny new digital platform to your media mix? Drop me a note on sourav.ganguly@centric.ae with your thoughts.

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Sourav Ganguly

About the Author Sourav Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly is the chief media officer at Centric. Leading a ten-man team of optimizers, planners, and strategist, he worked with clients to deliver significant returns on marketing investment. He can be reached on sourav.ganguly@centric.ae

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