YouTube announced a slew of new initiatives at its NewFronts event on Thursday, as the Google-owned company continues to solidify its leading position in the online video space. First, it unveiled a new ad product called Google Breakout Videos, which allows brand advertisers to identify and insert pre-rolls into “fast-rising” YouTube videos as they go viral. Ad buyers will also be able to buy Google Preferred ads programmatically through Google’s DoubleClick ad platform.
In addition, YouTube is teaming up with the NBA to develop two original virtual reality series that offer basketball fans behind-the-scenes looks at basketball legends and more. Ahead of the event, reports broke that the company is planning to launch a skinny TV bundle, but YouTube neither confirmed nor denied that at its NewFronts.
What Brands Need To Do
As digital video starts to overtake TV in garnering consumer attention, especially in the younger generations, YouTube is leading the pack of online video platforms in a grab for the TV ad spending. In fact, our sibling agency Magna Global announced that, as part of a 3-year deal it struck with Google, it will invest $250 million into digital video ads on YouTube while receiving “competitive rates” on Google Preferred’s unskippable ad inventory. With online video consumption continuously on the rise, brands need to recalibrate their media spending and take advantage of the new tools YouTube offers.
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Vimeo will now allow video creators to charge for monthly subscriptions to their libraries of content, in addition to the video-on-demand feature it added back in 2013 for content owners to rent out or sell access to their videos. If successful, this new feature could spur many “mini-Netflixes”, further fragmenting the online video audience.
Positioned as an alternative to YouTube, Vimeo has always been averse to pre-roll ads or other forms of video advertising, focusing on exploring other ways of monetization instead. Adding support for the subscription model seems like a natural progression, if not a belated one. For media owners, this new feature poses a great opportunity to try out the increasingly popular subscription model.
Shoppable ads are hardly new, but Kate Spade’s HTML 5 offers a novel take on ecommerce video. The fashion ad includes a rolling display of products featured in the video with a link to the product page. The ad unit makes use of Google’s Lightbox format and will run across the internet giant’s Display Network.
The advertising world has been buzzing around recent news that Facebook will likely be launching video ads this fall. There are a few items that have sparked the most conversation, but none more than the $2.5 million price tag for a daylong run of 15 second video spots integrated into the newsfeed. That cost and the way Facebook is packaging the offering looks more like a major TV buy (think Superbowl) than anything found in the digital arena. In fact, it seems that Facebook is embracing the comparison to primetime and has even collaborated with Nielsen to release a FB-commissioned study to compare reach of Facebook to TV. According to the report Facebook has reach that is comparable or even greater than the four TV broadcast networks during the day. For example, the 25-34 age segment on Facebook has an incremental 41% reach to the networks during the day.
That said, Facebook’s ad formats will vary dramatically from TV and even most online video. They will appear within news feeds, muted and can expand and activate audio when clicked (in the same fashion as Instagram Video). Targeting also varies significantly from TV as FB video will be able to target by age and gender. Based on initial numbers, Facebook video generates greater engagement than any other form of post, but will that translate to paid media?
Jobs, the upcoming film on the life of the Apple pioneer has turned to Instagram Video to promote the movie which drops August 16th. The 15 second format was a perfect fit for movie trailers and also allows for easy viewing on Twitter. We’ve seen brands like Starbucks gain several hundred thousand followers on the platform and now the new feature will allow them to reach their audience with video. We’ll see if brands produce original video for the platform or simply use it as another distribution channel.
As YouTube continues to expand their paid and original channels, they have begun opening up their 40,000 sq ft LA studio to content creators on their platform. Qualified partners must have at least 100,000 monthly views to book time in the studio. All of this, of course, is geared towards producing higher quality video that will make YouTube a more attractive space for major advertisers who might have passed on all of the cat videos of yesteryear.
Editor’s note: Cat videos are actually still quite popular. See recent Buzzfeed post for reference.
Online TV mainstay, Hulu will not be sold despite months of bidding. Instead, their current network shareholders, including 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal, and The Walt Disney Company have contributed $750 million to bolster the service. Hulu either did not receive high enough bids or believes they have significant long term value. With that said, Hulu’s network partners often host their videos on their own sites as well, thus cannibalizing Hulu views and ad sales.
Startup Touchcast has launched with the goal of reinventing online video to “look like TV and feel like the web.” The result is a series of video apps or vApps which are essentially plug and play widgets that bring additional functionality to any video. Examples include polls, Google News, webpages and more. With consumers multitasking more than ever, Touchcast’s multimedia approach may be interesting for brands trying to enhance their online video.
SkipIt operates a publisher network that allows users to pay an upfront fee that can be allocated to skip video ads. While their reach is miniscule and the offering a bit expensive, it does introduce an interesting proposition, essentially enabling a hybrid paid subscription model. We’ve seen advertisers enable similar transactions by crediting users through behaviors like sharing or liking content, but never such a direct monetary exchange. As micropayments become more engrained with online services, these sorts of solutions may not appear so farfetched in the future.
The Super Bowl is all about the first screen as viewers look for the most monstrous display to take in the action, but CBS also considered PC and tablet use this year providing a free stream of the game. Additionally, viewers could toggle camera angles, rewatch plays and receive web-exclusive ads. While twitter was likely the main second screen, CBS was able to extended their reach and interactivity online.