YouTube wants to pull in even more dollars from TV ad budgets — and this year, for the first time, the streaming giant is holding its annual sales pitch event for marketers the same week as TV’s upfronts.
The video platform is holding YouTube Brandcast during the week of the television upfronts. The live show is scheduled for Tuesday, May 17, starting at 8 p.m. ET in New York City, and YouTube says the event will feature top creators and music talent.
YouTube has not secured a venue in the Big Apple yet, but it expects to host in-person attendees and will livestream Brandcast as well.
For more than a decade, YouTube had been an anchor tenant (and co-founder) of the Digital Content NewFronts, the upfront-style marketing series hosted by digital platforms and managed by the IAB. YouTube says it will still be the principal sponsor of the IAB’s NewFronts. It’s holding an event in partnership with MediaLink on Monday, May 2, featuring “industry leaders and creators discussing the future of content and the role of the creator economy.”
YouTube’s move to crash the TV upfronts is “a harbinger of what is going on in our industry today,” said Debbie Weinstein, VP, global solutions, YouTube. “We have more advertisers reaching consumers in a streaming environment… We think it’s the right time for us to bridge the worlds of linear and digital television.”
Advertisers “want to hear from YouTube at the same time they’re hearing from other TV networks,” Weinstein said about the Brandcast timing change. The decision to move to TV upfronts week came after YouTube held Brandcast as a virtual, digital-only event in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic.
To be sure, a large number of people watch a ton of YouTube video on TVs. As of December 2021, YouTube reached more than 135 million people on connected TVs in the U.S., according to Nielsen estimates. And YouTube accounts for over 50% of ad-supported streaming watch-time on connected TVs among those 18 and older, per Nielsen, capturing a bigger chunk of share than rivals like Hulu, Pluto TV, Tubi, Peacock and Roku Channel.
Upfronts typically are where TV networks trot out their new, upcoming programming lineups. YouTube had previously produced some of its own original content and featured those at past Brandcast events. However, earlier this year, YouTube announced that it was shutting down its original content group,
“YouTube’s strength is and has always been our creators,” said Weinstein. “We feel like they are the next generation of media companies. They have tremendous reach and connection with their audience.”
Pictured above: YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki at the 2019 Brandcast at New York’s Radio City Music Hall