More than 120 million U.S. viewers streamed YouTube or YouTube TV on a connected TV last December, according to a blog post yesterday from Neal Mohan, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer. That’s up from 100 million per month that YouTube last revealed in June, 2020 at its Brandcast presentation during the NewFronts. Mohan reiterated that while mobile is still the most popular way to consume YouTube content, CTV is the fastest-growing.
Mohan also said that in December over 25% of logged-in YouTube CTV viewers in the U.S. watched over 90% of their YouTube content on CTV. Mohan quoted comScore data that 41% of all ad-supported streaming watch time occurs on YouTube, which makes YouTube by far the biggest CTV player.
In a separate blog post, Brian Albert, Google/YouTube’s Managing Director, US Agency Video & Creative Works, highlighted which genres experienced the biggest growth in watch time on CTVs year-over-year in December: Humor (up 60%), Education (up 50%), Music (up 50%), Cooking (up 40%) and Travel (up 40%).
Albert also said that YouTube CTV campaigns will be measurable using Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings and Total Ad Ratings beginning with YouTube TV prior to the 2021-2022 Upfront season. His blog post also highlighted a quote from Christina Seidner, senior brand manager at Kimberly-Clark noting the incremental, unique audience reach that YouTube CTV provided in a recent campaign for Pull-Ups.
Though not stated, implied in Seidner’s comment is that the reach was to younger viewers, who have reduced or eliminated linear TV viewing through pay-TV set-top boxes. In January Tubi said that 48% of its viewers cannot be reached via the top 25 cable TV networks and that its audience is over 20 years younger on average than linear TV viewers.
At the NewFronts the message that “streaming to CTVs is now the primary way to reach younger viewers at scale” is likely to be shared widely. YouTube has long had a mission of attracting more TV ad dollars to its platform. The new viewership number and Nielsen measurement will no doubt be core to YouTube’s 2021 Brandcast which will be on Tuesday, May 4th and has the tag line “YouTube is the Main Stream.”
The growth in viewership and CTV monetization contributed to YouTube’s record Q4 ’20 ad revenue of $6.9 billion in the U.S. an increase of 46%. On the earnings call on in early February, Philipp Schindler, Alphabet’s SVP and chief business officer said that YouTube now reaches more 18-49 year olds than all linear TV networks combined.”