TechYouTube's Position in the 2024 Streaming Ad War: What You Need to...

YouTube’s Position in the 2024 Streaming Ad War: What You Need to Know

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In this week’s Future of TV Briefing, we will take a closer look at how agency executives evaluate YouTube’s position against ad-supported competitors like Hulu and the upcoming Amazon Prime Video.

The streaming ad war of 2024 has prompted me to ask tough questions to agency executives. The response, however, was a bit too nuanced to condense. Read on to find out their perspective.

YouTube dominates TV watch time among U.S. streaming platforms. However, its extensive programming and the reluctance to establish what is considered premium content have hindered its position among agency executives.

“I am challenging myself, as my New Year’s resolution, to figure out how I classify [YouTube] to clients. Because if you look on a CTV scale chart, YouTube would blow everyone out of the water all day long,” said one agency executive.

“YouTube is by far the biggest reach driver out there. We did a chart the other day [comparing streaming services’ audience reach]. We actually had to shrink the numbers [because] the gap was so big on the reach,” said a second agency executive.

Although YouTube now streams premium TV programs, the vast majority of its content, estimated at over four billion videos uploaded in 2023, is not perceived as top-quality by ad buyers.

“There are still brand-safety concerns with YouTube. It’s not quite considered as safe as streaming or TV. You know what’s going to be on Peacock; you know what’s going to be on Paramount,” said a third agency executive.

“YouTube still remains its own thing to a large degree based largely on the content differential. Do I want to put it in the same bucket as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, Paramount? I don’t because even the content and user experience is different. You have the tiles to select five-minute clips, seven-minute clips, 20-minute clips. You go to Amazon Prime [Video], to Netflix [and] you’re watching full one-hour episodes, highly produced,” said a fourth agency executive.

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