Welcome to the first edition of the new Inside the Stream podcast with Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. After many years of recording together, Colin and I decided it was time for a branding refresh. With Inside the Stream we intend to keep providing an insider’s perspective on the streaming video industry. We’re adding a feature at the beginning of the podcast noting a few important stories that hit our radar. We also intend to bring on more guests to the podcast.
This week we discuss YouTube’s dominance, underscored by Pew’s latest research, showing 81% of U.S. adults use YouTube. Then Colin shares an updated forecast for Disney+ and what it means to the larger Walt Disney company.
Many thanks to our inaugural Inside the Stream sponsor Verizon Media. When you have quality connections at scale, you’re truly connected.
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YouTube is used by 81% of U.S. adults, according to Pew Research Center’s new Social Media Use in 2021 survey. That’s up 8 percentage points from the 73% YouTube usage rate that Pew found in 2019. Among all the other social platforms Pew polled, only Reddit experienced a statistically significant increase in usage from 2019 to 2021, up from 11% to 18%. Facebook is the second-most popular, with 69% usage; all others are below 50%.
YouTube’s dominance over other social platforms spans gender, race, age, income, education and geography. Pew’s data highlights why YouTube has become so attractive to advertisers. For example, YouTube is used by 95% of 18-29 year-olds and 91% of 30-49 year-olds, compared to Facebook’s 70% and 77% respectively. It is used by 90% of those with incomes of $75,000 or higher, compared with Facebook’s 70%. And YouTube is used by 89% of college grads or above, vs. Facebook’s 70%. The only category where other social platforms come a reasonably close second to YouTube is among 18-49 year-olds where Instagram and Snapchat have 71% and 65% usage rates respectively.
Advertising on YouTube and ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) services will grow from approximately $19 billion in 2021 to approximately $53 billion in 2025 in the U.S., a 29% compound annual growth rate, according to a new report from analysts MoffettNathanson. MN sees 67% of the 2025 spending, or approximately $35.5 billion, going to YouTube alone, with other AVOD providers splitting the remaining 33% or $17.5 billion, just about how spending is allocated currently.
MN characterizes the YouTube/AVOD ad spending as a new “mid-top layer” of the traditional marketing funnel, sitting below top-of-funnel brand advertising traditionally dominated by TV spending which MN forecasts will stay roughly flat by 2025 at around $70 billion. It sees total top-of-funnel spending declining from $108 billion in 2021 to around $99 billion in 2025. Below the YouTube/AVOD layer is middle-of-the-funnel digital/social media (except search) which will increase from an estimated $64 billion in 2021 to an estimated $137 billion in 2025, a 21% CAGR.
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.
Last Thursday’s Q4 and 2020 earnings reports from The Trade Desk and Roku provide further evidence of connected TV advertising’s surge and also viewers’ significant adoption of streaming video. Because the two companies are heavily invested in connected TV advertising and provide lots of thoughtful insights on their earnings calls (transcripts here and here), their results and sentiments are valuable in gauging the state of the market. Together they provide a holistic picture of the market since The Trade Desk operates on the demand side and Roku on the supply side (primarily).
For some time, The Trade Desk has talked about the rising importance of CTV advertising on its overall business, which continued this quarter with the pandemic accelerating key trends. Founder and CEO Jeff Green said that advertisers’ CTV spending on the platform more than doubled in 2020 (total spend, including CTV, was $4.2 billion with Q4 revenue up 48% to $320 million). Green said “more than 1,000 brands spend at least $100,000 on CTV on our platform” and that “those brands spending more than $1 million on our platform in 2020 more than doubled from a year ago.”
Last week Alphabet reported that YouTube's global ad revenues hit a record $6.9 billion in Q4 '20, up 47% from Q4 '19. For perspective on YouTube's and the market's growth, I interviewed Brian Atwood, who was just appointed Pixability's new Chief Revenue Officer. If you're not familiar with Pixability, it provides software and insights for video ad buyers to target and optimize their campaigns on YouTube, YouTube on connected TVs, Amazon Fire and Roku. It also just had a record year of growth and profitability.
VideoNuze: Congratulations on joining Pixability. What excited you about the company?
Brian Atwood: I’ve been working in the YouTube and Connected TV space for over four years now and I have always been impressed with Pixability’s unique targeting solutions, performance optimization and insights. I feel like there is no company better positioned to help brands and agencies navigate the big shifts we’re seeing in the market. More than anything, I’m looking forward to working with the people. They’ve assembled an outstanding team that is incredibly well respected in the industry.
Welcome to the 547th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
A couple of weeks ago on our podcast, Colin and I discussed how both AVOD and SVOD services keep growing strongly. This week we explore two specific examples. In AVOD, YouTube’s ad revenue hit $6.9 billion in Q4 ’20, up 46% and for the full year ad revenue hit $19.8 billion, up 31% from 2019.
Meanwhile Crunchyroll, the anime OTT service, announced it’s up to 4 million subscribers, adding a million in the past 6 months, a record growth rate. Like many other streaming services, Crunchyroll appears to be benefiting from Covid. Colin and I explore what’s behind both companies’ success and where things go from here.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 29 seconds)
YouTube advertising revenue grew to $6.9 billion in Q4 ’20, up 46% from $4.7 billion in Q4 ’19. YouTube’s results were reported as part of parent company Alphabet’s Q4 ’20 and full year 2020 earnings released yesterday. YouTube’s ad revenue accounted for 15% of Google’s total ad revenue of $46.2 billion in Q4 ’20, up from 12.4% of Google’s total ad revenue of n Q4 ’19.
Critical to YouTube’s ad growth is the macro trend of reduced linear TV viewing, especially among younger audiences. This makes it harder than ever for brands to reach these viewers, a tailwind that is helping all ad-supported streaming services.
A new report from nScreenMedia and WildBrain Spark reveals that YouTube Kids is the most popular streaming video source for kids 12 years old or younger. Surveyed parents responded that 52% of their kids this age watch YouTube Kids, followed by PBS Kids (46%), Disney+ (24%) and YouTube (15%). Streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ are all in single digits.
The survey data is included in the new report titled “Making Screen Time Family Time.” Two surveys were fielded, one in late October and one in early November, of U.S. adults who stream video on a weekly basis and have at least one child 12 years old or younger. The first survey had 2,500 respondents and the second had 500 respondents. nScreenMedia’s chief analyst Colin Dixon is my weekly podcast partner.
Yesterday YouTube TV raised its monthly rate by 30% from $50 to $65. It’s the fourth rate hike in just the past 2 years, as YouTube TV moved from its introductory rate of $35 to $40 to $50 to the new $65 per month. As recently as March, 2018 it was still possible to sign up for $35 per month and be grandfathered into that rate for a short period.
I’ve been a mostly satisfied YouTube TV subscriber since the early days, and of course, the rate increases have been painful to absorb. The fundamentals of YouTube TV as a pay-TV alternative that were appealing from day one have changed little - strong cross-platform access, unlimited DVR, 6 concurrent users, etc. What has changed is the growth in number of TV networks carried; indeed yesterday’s rate hike was tied to the launch of a group of ViacomCBS networks, just as the previous hike was tied to the addition of Discovery networks.
As part of the IAB NewFronts, YouTube held its reimagined Brandcast virtual event today, emphasizing its TV viewership, incremental reach and originals as part of a broader pitch for ad buyers’ budgets. Brandcast attendees were able to customize their selection of videos by content genre and then learn from YouTube executives and talent about specific programming and monetization initiatives.
As it has done in the past, YouTube highlighted how the platform is used by viewers to create personalized experiences, helping advertisers better connect with passionate viewers on TVs. YouTube cited Comscore research that it had the largest ad-supported reach among cord-cutters and cord-never on connected TVs and the highest viewing hours among AVOD services. YouTube said it reached 77% of AVOD households in March and accounted for 41% of all AVOD watch time in March in the U.S. YouTube cited Nielsen research that it reached more 18-49 year-olds in March than all linear TV networks combined.
YouTube launched “YouTube Select,” replacing and expanding its prior Google Preferred solution, which was a curated selection of top YouTube channels. In a blog post, Vishal Sharma, VP, Product Management for YouTube Ads said in a blog post that YouTube Select will also include “emerging lineups” which are “up and coming or niche channels” in categories like beauty and fashion, entertainment, technology, sport and other.
With the new program, YouTube is expanding the quantity of content it is curating and ensuring as brand safe, further targeting connected TV viewers. YouTube said it will give advertisers the option to “only serve ads on videos that have been machine classified and human-verified.” Brand safety is a critical consideration for traditional TV ad buyers who have been a target audience for Google Preferred.
As stay at home guidelines remain in place, it seems like more and more free TV and video are being made available, spanning the short and long ends of the tail (meaning super-premium through user-generated) - and everything in between. Not only does this create more choices for viewers, which will be welcomed, it also means more competition for subscription video services which were already vulnerable to belt-tightening. And for free TV/video that is ad-supported, it means more inventory and choices for advertisers.
Here’s what’s caught my eye just in the past week:
Pixability has announced BrandTrack, a new competitive intelligence tool that helps advertisers optimize their presence on YouTube. BrandTrack provides detailed information on competitors within 25 different industries, showing metrics on channel growth, estimated ad spending, brand sentiment, top/trending videos, best practices at the video-specific level and more. Pixability is pulling the data directly from YouTube’s API and then applying its proprietary technology and UI/visualization to give advertisers easily digestible insights.
BrandTrack grew out of a professional service Pixability has been offering clients for a while. But, recognizing that advertisers need to be able to flexibly adjust their YouTube content/spending to maintain a competitive edge, the service has been productized into a SaaS offering available standalone ($2K-$10K per month, based on seats) or as part of the PixabilityONE platform.
I’m pleased to present the 500th(!) edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
On today’s podcast, Colin is still mopping up his tears from the 49ers’ heartbreaker last Sunday night, but is being a good sport about the loss. He quickly recaps the game’s streaming audience and shares his insights.
This week’s main topics are Disney+ and YouTube. Coincidentally, this week we all got a first look at both of their performances, in Disney’s and Alphabet’s earnings reports, respectively. The headline from Disney+ was clearly the 28.6 million subscribers reported after just 84 days after launching - a noteworthy accomplishment by any standard. We discuss how sticky those subs are (i.e. what will the churn rate be?) and what Disney+ will need to do from here to keep up momentum.
Then we shift to YouTube; we’re both a little surprised that YouTube TV only has 2 million subscribers given how much advertising around marquee sports it has done (by comparison, Hulu Live had 3.2 million at the end of 2019). Nevertheless we are both quite bullish about YouTube going forward, particularly if Google decides to hold off price increases for some time and cord-cutting continues to accelerate. I believe the company as a whole could crack $25 billion in revenue in 2020.
(Apologies - Colin’s audio quality isn’t very good this week, we’re working to fix for future podcasts.)
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (27 minutes, 11 seconds)
Finally, finally, finally, Google provided some transparency about YouTube’s financial condition, in its Q4 ’19 and full year 2019 earnings report yesterday. YouTube’s financials have been treated as a state secret by Google since the beginning of time, with only high level usage information periodically shared.
Even yesterday’s reveal was only for YT’s advertising revenue, which came in at $4.7 billion for Q4 ’19 and $15.1 billion for the year. YT’s subscription revenues - which consist of YT Music, YT Premium includes YT Music) and YT TV (its virtual pay-TV service) - were buried in “Google other revenue.” On the earnings call, CEO Sundar Pichai said all YT subscriptions had a $3 billion annual run rate at the end of 2019.
Using some conservative assumptions and relatively quick math, it’s clear that YT’s total revenue could exceed $25 billion in 2020. As I also detail below, YT has to be considered among the best acquisitions in corporate America’s history. For Google, only the acquisition of Android (for the measly price of $50 million) could be considered more successful.
Here are my calculations:
Frustrated Chromecast and Fire TV users can now breathe a sigh of relief: parent companies Google and Amazon have announced that apps for YouTube and Prime Video are officially available the other company’s CTV devices. That means Prime Video can be cast once again using Chromecast and is on Android TV devices. And YouTube’s app is available on Fire TV Stick (2nd gen), Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Stick Basic Edition, and Fire TV smart TVs (e.g. Toshiba, Insignia, Element, Westinghouse).
I’m pleased to present the 470th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week we start with Colin sharing his views on CuriosityStream’s market opportunity. Colin had several takeaways after listening to a podcast with company founder John Hendricks describing the addressable universe streaming is creating and how CuriosityStream is capitalizing. We also discuss challenges CuriosityStream and other DTC streaming services face.
Speaking of challenges, we then shift to focus on YouTube’s latest policies meant to combat hate and conspiracy speech, plus predatory behavior towards kids on its platform. Colin and I agree YouTube is engaged in an ongoing game of whack-a-mole trying to control what content runs on its platform, while also trying to respect freedom of speech. It’s an extremely hard balance to achieve. Now regulators around the world are stepping up their pressure to address the situation.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 28 seconds)
I’m pleased to present the 467th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week the major TV networks presented to advertisers in the annual upfronts ritual. Among the key benefits being conveyed was brand safety; unlike digital platforms, TV networks are controlled and curated so only premium content is carried. Despite networks’ declining linear audiences, in the current chaotic environment, there’s reassurance in brand safety.
With YouTube, Facebook and others playing whack-a-mole to regularly tamp down controversial videos, advertisers face a dilemma of taking risks with digital platforms to target coveted younger audiences, or stay safe with network TV. For example, a recent Reuters article cited research that of 240 brands, 46% reduced their YouTube spending year over year, instead shifting some spending to networks' online properties. Colin and I discuss the complexities.
(Note: Brand safety will be a critical topic at the 9th annual VideoNuze Video Advertising Summit coming up on May 29th in NYC. Register now!)
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Click here to listen to the podcast (26 minutes, 13 seconds)
I’m pleased to present the 464th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First up this week Colin walks us through Nielsen and YouTube data he’s been analyzing that shows how 50-64 year olds are watching OTT video at a pretty significant level. According to his analysis, this group’s viewing could be at least 60% of the level of 18-34 year olds, which have been the main focus of many observers’ attention.
This adoption ties to our second topic which the Q1 ’19 loss of around 83K subscribers by DirecTV Now. Virtual pay-TV operators have a big opportunity to drive OTT viewing on connected TV devices, and Colin and I surmise these are taking up a bigger share of 50-64 year olds’ viewing which is more focused on long-form entertainment and sports. However the DirecTV Now loss shows that different players are benefiting differently from this shift.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 37 seconds)