YouTube promotes TV viewing, creator-led originals on the whiteboard at Brandcast virtual launch


9:31 AM PDT 06/25/2020


Natalie Jarvey

The Google-owned streamer has new projects underway with Demi Lovato, Markiplier and David Blaine.

YouTube held its annual virtual Brandcast pitchfest this year, defending the enduring value of its platform amid a global pandemic that has forced many people to shut down.

On Thursday morning, the Google-owned streamer sent personalized videos, called Brandcast Delivered, to ad buyers who gave a window to some of their most popular video categories, from comedy to food, sports, education and music. The coronavirus has helped increase the visualization of many of those genres, the company explained. Food programming, for example, has seen a 45 percent increase in viewership since last year, as cooking from home has taken on new importance. Videos about haircut and self-care have also been on the rise.

“With movie and television production stopped and theaters closed, much of our mass entertainment has stopped. But what is happening in the digital video space is possibly as relevant as it has been in YouTube’s 15-year history, “said Kevin Allocca, head of culture and trends for YouTube, in a prerecorded video from his Queens apartment. .

YouTube has long argued that marketers should give the same weight to billions of videos on their platform as they do to Hollywood television productions, and transfer more of their budgets to their platform. Now, the company is illustrating that people are watching its videos as they would with traditional programming. In the past year, there was an 80 percent growth in YouTube viewing time on television screens, and more than 100 million monthly viewers watched the platform’s videos on TVs in the month of March.

The YouTube presentation comes as many industries, particularly the technology, media and entertainment fields, face their role in the long history of racism in the United States. In response to protests that have erupted across the country after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, YouTube pledged to create a $ 100 million fund to support black creators. At the beginning of the Brandcast videos, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki acknowledged: “We have always been a platform that celebrates a diverse set of voices, but we have recognized that we need to do more, particularly with the black community.”

Brandcast’s videos also featured appearances by homegrown stars like Rosanna Pansino and Lilly Singh, who is now also hosting an evening show on NBC, and more traditional talents who have been brought to the platform like Gordon Ramsey and Alex Rodriguez. Musicians such as Lizzo, Questlove and Tones and myself also performed.

After flirting with star-studded scripted programming, YouTube is focusing on unscripted series and re-emphasizing endemic talent. A new schedule list announced Thursday includes renewals for Instant influencer, a series of competitions by beauty guru James Charles; Creator games, a virtual live broadcast hosted by MrBeast; and Retro tech with Marques Brownlee.

YouTube is also working on a new four-part series with Demi Lovato that will serve as a follow-up to 2017. Just complicated, and is developing a new interactive special with game maker Markiplier. Meanwhile, Steph Curry, who has a YouTube channel with more than a million followers, will present series of virtual competitions. Ultimate Home Championship, and David Blaine will star in an upcoming live event.

On the script side, YouTube will premiere the children’s series Emergency shutdown, a mystery that was remotely developed and filmed during the shutdown on June 26. She is also preparing the third season of. Liza on Demand starring Liza Koshy.

The shutdown has put a new focus on digital programming first that can be produced from home, something YouTube creators have been doing for years. “The pandemic has accelerated trends around video consumption and video creation,” says chief commercial officer Robert Kyncl THR. She points to recent YouTube projects that have taken advantage of these trends, including Andrea Bocelli’s Easter concert that was seen by more than 40 million people and the virtual graduation event. Dear class of 2020 which featured Barack and Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and others. “We have invested in content that brings people together,” he says.

Kyncl called last year “a year of transition,” as the company shifted its focus from scripted originals made for the YouTube Premium subscription product to a predominantly unscripted ad-supported whiteboard. “We are a place where, whether you are an advertiser or a creator, you come here to reach the widest audience. Therefore, we should not have limited access to content.” But he said of projects that YouTube has abandoned as Cobra Kai, who is moving to Netflix, “I am personally very happy that the projects have found new homes.”