As long as the Digital Content NewFronts have existed, Google's YouTube venture has been a key presenter and co-organizer. Over the years, whether in-person or virtual, YouTube's annual Brandcast has been a spectacular highlight. Although the Brandcast is moving to Upfront week later this month, YouTube nevertheless partnered up yesterday with United Talent Agency division MediaLink to lead off the NewFronts' return to in-person New York City events at Google's impressive new Pier 57 location.
The Big Message: Smart TV products and multichannel bundles distributed through them have usurped online sites and smartphone apps as the digital medium of choice with consumers. If you want to know why, look no further than the multitude of content makers using YouTube and other platforms to engage viewers and advertisers alike.
Hosts: Popular YouTube personalities Colin and Samir (pictured at top) did the honors, joined for specific segments by Interactive Advertising Bureau Chief Executive Officer David Cohen, MediaLink Chief Executive Officer Michael Kassan and YouTube executive Tara Walpert Levy. (Walpert Levy and Kassan are pictured below.)
What Worked: A well-paced format in which each segment complimented the others. Kassan and Walpert Levy kicked things off with a TV landscape overview, then joined executives from the NBA and Diageo for a panel discussion on YouTube advertising benefits. Colin and Samir reappeared to size up content creator reaction, joined by fellow YouTube content talent Cassey Ho and Collins Key.
What Also Worked: The relaxed on-stage atmosphere that started with a homey set design -- sofas on the right side, a table on the left for the panel discussion. Put all the speakers and the audience at ease.
What Didn't Work: Not running clips of how the NBA or Diageo uses YouTube in their ad campaigns. A video or two could have given the audience more understanding on why both organizations so highly value YouTube. Also, did Colin and Samir really need to have someone flash signs at the audience to increase applause or laughter on their banter? Came off way amateurish.
Bonus Points: Google's new Pier 57 facility made for a fantastic environment, with an animated videowall welcoming attendees to a great breakfast spread before and after the presentation.
Data Points: Smart TV products and programming services will generate $21.2 billion in ad sales this year, a 39 percent increase from last year, according to IAB. One out of every three consumers are likely to buy from brands that leverage creator economy content. Content makers on YouTube and other outlets are on track to crack the $100 billion revenue mark by the end of 2022. In recent weeks, a violinist in a YouTube video that went viral nationwide raised more than $1 million for humanitarian aid to citizens in Ukraine.
News: YouTube will present live coverage of the long-awaited world premiere of Top Gun: Maverick later this week, complete with red carpet coverage and star interviews. Another long-form presentation ahead: a makeup session connected with Netflix's mega-hit series Bridgerton.
Parting Words: "We are back in real life. The digital ecosystem has solidified itself as our lifeline. Content is flourishing. It's never been a better time to be a viewer, or an advertiser." -- David Cohen, IAB Chief Executive Officer
"YouTube is the only place where we can turn a crazy idea into a reality." -- Samir of Colin and Samir
"If you have the obligation to do well, you have the opportunity to do good." -- MediaLink Chief Executive Officer Michael Kassan
"Trust is the currency of the creator economy." -- YouTube personality/content producer Cassey Ho
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