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Video Trends: 8 Critical Industry Takeaways from NewFronts 2018

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I’ve just spent the last week attending half a dozen events at the 2018 Digital Content NewFronts. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing some strategic insights that I gleaned from the annual series of events founded by AOL, DigitasLBi, Google/YouTube, Hulu, Microsoft, and Yahoo in 2012. But, because I know that data masters are preparing their action dashboards even as we speak, I wanted to share the critical data from last week’s NewFronts that you need to know now. Here they are – hot off the press.

#1 YouTube now has more than 1.8 billion monthly logged-in users

On Thursday evening, May 3, Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s Chief Executive Officer, told the nearly 4,200 people (100% capacity) attending the Brandcast event at Radio City Music Hall, “With more than 1.8 billion monthly logged-in users (and those are only the logged in ones) and localized versions of YouTube stretching across 90 countries and 80 languages, we’re opening up the world to anyone with a cell phone and an internet connection.”

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 03: YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki speaks onstage during the YouTube Brandcast 2018 presentation at Radio City Music Hall on May 3, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s Chief Business Officer, said, “We’re also building on the success of YouTube Originals… Last year, we launched… 7 shows, which amassed over 700 MILLION views.”

Deanie Elsner, the President of Kellogg’s Snacks Division, told the Brandcast audience, “We went from spending very little on digital platforms to now spending 60-70% of our overall marketing budget (on them). In fact, since 2015 we’ve increased our spend on YouTube each year, including a 300% increase last year alone. And, in many cases, our digital campaigns are now driving the creative and strategy behind everything else we do.”

Other critical data unveiled at Brandcast that data masters will want to know about includes:

  • Availability of YouTube TV has expanded to over 85 percent of U.S. households in nearly 100 TV markets.
  • According to fresh Nielsen data, more than half of 18- to 49-year-olds in the U.S. are either light viewers of TV or do not subscribe to TV; but over 90 percent of these people watch YouTube.
  • Google Preferred Lineups reach more 18-49 year-olds monthly than any cable network or full episode player.
  • Based on Ipsos Lab Experiments, YouTube ads shown on TV drove a significant lift in ad recall and purchase intent, with an average lift of 47 percent and 35 percent respectively.
  • Looking across Nielsen Matched Panel Analysis (MPA) studies run to date, over 70% of YouTube campaigns drove a significant lift on offline sales.
  • TV screens are YouTube’s fastest growing screen counting over 150 million hours of watch time per day.
  • Nearly 7 in 10 YouTube viewers say they watch YouTube on a TV screen.
  • Nearly 7 in 10 of YouTube TV viewers report watching YouTube on TV during primetime.

#2 ESPN reaches 215 million sports fans a month in the U.S.

On Wednesday afternoon, May 2, I wasn’t able to wangle an invitation to ESPN’s NewFront event at Cedar Lake in the West Chelsea historic district, but I was given a link to the webcast, so I was able to watch from my hotel room. So, I was able to watch Travis Howe, ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Platform Ad Sales Strategy & Global Operations, say, “At ESPN we live our mission every day. To serve the sports fan anytime, anywhere. It’s because of our passion for the fan that ESPN is always first with the clip, the highlight, the point of view, and the story about the game. Which is the reason why fans always choose ESPN first.”

New York, NY – May 2, 2018 – Cedar Lake: Travis Howe during the ESPN NewFront
(Photo by Steve Fenn / ESPN Images)

He added, “It’s because of our commitment to the fan that ESPN is unmatched in the industry and we continue to grow, and in 2017 alone our digital video consumption increased by 79%. Eighty-five million unique sports fans connect with ESPN and every single day 28 million fans turn to ESPN across desktop, mobile, and OTT. Now recognizing the size of those numbers, I thought I’d provide you some industry context. ESPN Digital is 42% larger than the number two sports property. The ESPN app is 1.5 times larger than the number two sports app. And fans spend more time with ESPN Digital than the second, third, and fourth sports property combined. But I’m not done. ESPN also operates as a seamless, measurable platform so when you combine television with digital, we in fact reach 215 million sports fans a month. So, in the US, that means we are larger than Facebook and right behind Google as the largest platform.”

He concluded, “So, though you might be familiar with our size, what you might not be familiar with is that our audience continues to transform. Today, 30% of our audience is female and across our 285 million social followers, 80% is under the age of 35.”

#3 Meredith’s digital network reaches more than 140 million UVs monthly

On Thursday morning, May 3, Meredith Corporation made its inaugural appearance at the NewFronts. The presentation in the Hudson Theater marked the first time that the entire portfolio was showcased since Meredith acquired Time Inc. earlier this year. Jon Werther, President of Meredith’s National Media Group, said, “Meredith now has 42 trusted and iconic brands, at-scale reach against highly coveted audiences like Millennials and Latinas, unique and actionable insights, and immersive cross-channel experiences that drive impactful results and make a difference for consumers, advertisers and the world.”

Meredith also unveiled a new slate of programming at its NewFronts presentation. The slate includes shows that spotlight both the extraordinary and everyday moments that matter to Meredith’s consumers, who include 80 percent of all millennial women and three quarters of multicultural women. The slate of new series will live across Meredith’s owned and operated network, its streaming ad supported network PeopleTV, and social media platforms including a live show on Twitter. Meredith’s owned and operated digital network reaches more than 140 million UVs monthly and is unrivaled in food, home, entertainment, and lifestyle. The company also boasts 265m social followers and 9+ billion video views.

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 03: Jon Werther appears at the 2018 Meredith NewFront on May 3, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for MEREDITH)

An innovator in measuring and guaranteeing the incremental sales impact of advertising, Meredith again took the lead in the industry by extending its sales guarantee for its advertisers’ video campaigns and activations. Third-party measurement for Meredith’s Video Sales Guarantee will be provided by Nielsen. Werther concluded, “With these capabilities, a collective audience that represents two of every three dollars spent in virtually every key consumer category in the U.S., and the extension of our sales guarantee to video, Meredith delivers impact for marketing partners in premium brand safe environments like no other media company.”

#4 Group Nine Media now reaches nearly 40 million people each day

On Thursday afternoon, May 3, Group Nine Media, the parent company of digital brands NowThis, The Dodo, Seeker, and Thrillist, held its NewFront event at the edgy Skylight Modern space in the Chelsea Gallery district. Ben Lerer, the CEO of Group Nine, said, “Just 18 months ago, we introduced Group Nine to the world and talked about our huge scale and view count,” He added, “I am humbled to say that we not only continue to have tremendous reach, but more importantly, we’ve developed deep, habitual relationships with obsessed superfans representing the nearly 40 million viewers that welcome us into their lives every single day.”

Group Nine is one of the top ten most-watched media companies in the world on digital, according to Tubular. The company reaches 40 million people each day, including over 73% of U.S. Millennials and over 80% of Americans in their 20s, according to Nielsen Digital Ratings. In April, fans spent 2.8 billion minutes immersed in Group Nine storytelling, making it the company’s best month ever, according to internal cross-platform analytics.

#5 Hulu surges past 20 million U.S. subscribes

On Wednesday morning, May 2, during the Hulu presentation at the newly-named Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, executives took the stage to reveal the company’s rapid growth. Reinforcing Hulu’s position as one of the world’s top 10 direct-to-consumer entertainment brands, the company announced that it has surpassed 20 million U.S. subscribers and has grown total engagement on Hulu by more than 60%. In addition, Hulu revealed that 78% of viewing on the service takes place in the living room, on connected TVs.

“Hulu is the complete TV experience for consumers, offering both live and on-demand programming and more consumer choice than ever before,” said Randy Freer, Hulu’s CEO. “We are the only place that delivers award-winning content, ad loads less than half that of traditional television, with ads that are always viewable and always in a brand-safe environment — and we are leading the TV and advertising industries into the future.”

#6 Female global consumer spending power is now $20 trillion

On Monday morning, April 30, The New York Times explored the unique relationship The Times shares with its readers and the new ways of connecting them to stories that create lasting impacts. At its 2018 NewFront presentation at TheTimesCenter, Sebastian Tomich, the global head of Advertising and Marketing Solutions at The New York Times Company, said, “To make a product worth paying for, we have to continue to invest in new areas of coverage, new digital experiences for our journalism, and new audiences. We’ve evolved more since our last Newfronts than in any years past, and this year’s show is an exciting forum to showcase all of this work.”

The 95-minute long presentation that followed, which was entitled “New Insights, New Voices, New Audiences,” felt more like an editorial meeting than a pitch for advertising dollars – although there were more than a few “buy now” moments during the packed event. I know that because earlier in my long, checkered career I was the news editor of The Beverly Times, a daily newspaper in Massachusetts. And I participated in the lively discussions with the other editors about which stories would run on the front page. Not all of them could, so we used to joke, “All the news that fits, we print.”

The NewFront presentation looked at how The Times is evolving through an eclectic range of writers and storytellers that represent different demographics, cultural perspectives, and points of view. One of the featured speakers was gender editor Jessica Bennett. She introduced herself by answering the question, “Why does The Times have a gender editor working to expand its coverage of how gender is shaping the lives of people across the globe?” Bennett told the media buyers in the audience, “Female global consumer spending power is now $20 trillion.”

#7 Nearly 60% of advertisers’ digital budgets are allocated to video

On Monday, April 30, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released the “Digital Content NewFronts: 2018 Video Ad Spend Study.” You will want to examine it as closely as you examine YouTube Analytics, Facebook Audience Insights, and Tubular Intelligence. Among other things, the study found that 59% of marketers’ digital advertising budgets are currently allocated to digital video, a consistent climb in share since 2016. This trend is expected to continue, with more than 50% of media buyers planning to increase digital and mobile video spending in the next 12 months, with the additional spend primarily coming from expanding budgets. These advertisers will hike spending on digital video and mobile video by 53% compared to two years ago, to an average of more than $10 million annually.

Other key findings include:

  • 83% of advertisers believe that cross-platform measurement has improved compared to one year ago.
  • Half of buyers plan to spend more on social media video advertising in next 12 months.
  • 48% of media buyers plan to invest in voice artificial intelligence advertising in the next 12 months, with 44% saying the same about virtual reality.

#8 7 surprising lessons from established online video viewers

On Thursday afternoon, May 3, Ogilvy and The Young Turks (TYT) announced the findings of a study entitled “7 Lessons from Established Online Video Viewers” at an unofficial event at the Ogilvy offices in New York. In early June of 2017, nearly 2,400 TYT viewers ages 18 and over participated in a survey detailing their interactions with video content and advertising across all online video (OLV) sources — not just videos from The Young Turks. Unveiled publicly last week, the study reveals seven surprising lessons that challenge accepted norms of online marketing.

For example, one key learning was that online viewers don’t watch videos in a one-and-done fashion. Rather, they stitch together viewing sessions that frequently last longer than convention wisdom believes. In the TYT sample, 68% of respondents reported their average online video sessions last more than 30 minutes, with 40% reporting average sessions of over an hour. The data suggests these are frequently occurring events, with 73% reporting having 30+ minute session views more than three days a week and 29% saying they view for 60 minutes or more — per session — on a daily basis.

Instead of hording this critical data, Ogilvy and TNT shared it with about 40 people at their unofficial event, and data masters can download their presentation from SlideShare, or watch the short video below that features Deanna Brown, President and COO of TYT Network, and Rob Davis, Head of Digital at Ogilvy, discussing the findings.

There you have it: Critical data from last week’s NewFronts that you can add to your action dashboard.

NewFronts Presenters: 2018 Video Statistics

Tubular has put together a full ratings sheet with all the NewFronts 2018 presenters top properties listing their Facebook March Views, Facebook V30, YouTube March Views, and YouTube V30. Click below for the full list!

Download the NewFronts 2018 Ratings Sheet Today! Compare each Newfronts presenter’s most recent monthly views and Tubular V30 – get the data on their social video metrics!


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