How Brands Can Make Use Of YouTube’s VR Video

What Happened
Yesterday, YouTube officially launched its support for virtual reality videos with an updated Android app, which enables users to watch stereoscopic videos in a ”virtual movie theater” with Google Cardboard. Early-adopters like Lionsgate and TOMS Shoes are already taking advantage of the new feature, putting out VR videos for the “Hunger Games Experience” and “TOMS Shoes Giving Trip.”

What Brands Need To Do
This is the first time YouTube is pitching an immersive video format as virtual reality, although it added support for 360-degree videos in March, and Google Cardboard supported playing them in May. With VR technology poised to break into the consumer market next year, brands that seek to engage consumers with immersive experiences would be smart to start developing their own branded VR content today.


Source: Marketing Land

YouTube Opens Ad Viewability To Third-Party Verifications

What Happened
In response to the increasing demand of the ad industry, YouTube has announced it will soon allow third-party vendors to verify its ad viewability. ComScore, DoubleVerify, Integral AdScience, and Moat are among the first batch of outside vendors that YouTube has approved to report viewability beginning early next year.

Market Impact
Viewability verifications help guarantee that advertisers only pay for ad impressions that are actually seen. As the industry leader in online videos, YouTube’s net US video ad revenues soared to $1.55 billion this year, and is estimated to top $2 billion by 2017, according to eMarketer (paywalled link). Google has made significant efforts to make YouTube’s ads more effective, adding “buy buttons” to the pre-roll ads recently, and YouTube’s willingness to open its ad views to scrutiny shows its confidence in its ad products. Facebook also added support for third-party verifications for its video ads viewability in September.


Source: Marketing Land

YouTube To Launch Ad-Free Monthly Subscription Service

What Happened
After months of speculation, YouTube has finally confirmed the launch of a paid subscription service called YouTube Red. Set to launch on October 28th in the US, the $9.99/month subscription service will allow users to watch YouTube without ads, save videos for offline watching, and keep video playback running in the background on mobile. YouTube is also planning to put some new original content created by its top content creators behind the paywall. In addition to the YouTube content, subscribers will also gain access to the entire library of Google Play Music as well.

Market Impact
Currently boasting over 1 billion monthly users worldwide, YouTube has long been the number one destination site for digital videos. Yet it still struggles with turning a profit. Launching an ad-free subscription tier opens up a new revenue stream for YouTube, while also putting it in direct competition with other subscription-based music streaming services. As a distribution platform, the site offers some of the best video ad products in the industry thanks to its scale and support from its parent company Google.

Overall, YouTube Red won’t necessarily reduce the streaming site’s existing ad scale by much – after all, 10 dollars a month is not that cheap – but it could cause a certain high-income demo of YouTube viewers to opt out of seeing ads, therefore costing some brands that specifically targeting this demo their targeted audience.


Source: The Verge

Header image courtesy of YouTube

YouTube Gaming To Offer Mobile Broadcasting And Ad-free Monthly Subscription

What Happened
YouTube Gaming continues to catch up with its archrival Twitch with an Android app update, which adds paid subscriptions, called “sponsorships.” For a monthly fee of $3.99, sponsorships let users go ad-free and unlock exclusive content from their favorite streamers. Moreover, the new update also lets users broadcast directly from their mobile devices, largely simplifying the set-up process.

Industry Impact
As YouTube gradually closes the gap between its gaming division and Twitch, these new features, especially the “sponsorships,” give gamers some incentives to put up their content on YouTube Gaming, as it does not require exclusivity as Twitch does. And with the proliferation of content, YouTube Gaming should be able to attract more eyeballs, which, combined with the vast amount of user data that Google has, offers brands and advertisers a great platform to target millions of young millennials that make up the gaming community.


Source: The Verge

PlayStation 4 To Support Gameplay Livestream To YouTube

What Happened
Sony’s PlayStation 4 just received a major update, adding more cloud storage and the ability to stream game footage live on YouTube. Already equipped with the capability to stream gameplay live over Twitch, this new added support for YouTube would make streams visible on its newly launched YouTube Gaming mobile app and channel, no doubt helping to attract a bigger audience.

What Brands Should Do
With the rapid rise of eSports, also known as competitive gaming, a whole new media platform largely built upon livestreaming platforms like Twitch is now drawing hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide.  Sony’s decision to support YouTube Gaming will no doubt further expand the reach of eSports. Therefore, instead of dismissing it like Jimmy Kimmel recently did and alienating a significant segment of young, digital savvy audience, brands of all types should get on board with eSport, which some big-name brands like Coca-Cola, Red Bull, and Samsung are already vying to sponsor.


Source and header image: PlayStation.Blog‎

Comcast To Launch Short-Form Digital Video Platform

What Happened
Comcast is reportedly planning to launch a major short-form video platform named Watchable in the next few weeks, with content supplied by major digital publishers like Comcast-backed Vox and Buzzfeed, news outlets like Mic and Vice, as well as its traditional media subsidiaries like NBC Sport. Moreover, a new report from WSJ suggests that Comcast will offer content creators 70% of ad revenue on Watchable, more than what Facebook and YouTube currently offer. With such strong content initiatives, Comcast is clearly working to build a digital platform that could rival YouTube and Facebook’s online video efforts, no doubt hoping to get its share of the increasing ad spending in digital videos.

What Brands Can Do
As the digital video space continues to evolve, more and more legacy media companies and ISPs are starting to realize the urgent importance of marrying the traditional media assets they own with the rising digital platforms that audiences are flocking to. In fact, Comcast’s major competitor Verizon is also reportedly readying the launch of its own digital video platform. Brands of all types would be smart to stay mindful of the ongoing changes in the digital video space and adjust their ad buying strategy accordingly.

Sources: The Verge

How To Keep Up With YouTube’s New Vertical & Spherical Video Formats

What Happened
YouTube has been making strides in expanding beyond the traditional horizontal videos in the past few months, adding support for new video formats, such as mobile-originated vertical videos and VR-derived 360-degree spherical videos. This week, YouTube further integrates the new formats by allowing full-screen vertical video viewing in its Android mobile app, as well as adding support for 360-degree videos to TrueView video ad platform, part of Google’s AdWords products.

What Brands Should Do
These two new formats are slowly gaining legitimacy as they incorporate viewing experiences native to the mobile and VR devices across platforms, which in turn can lead to better ad performances. For instance, Snapchat claims that vertical video ads are viewed completely nine times more frequently than horizontal ones, while YouTube reports that 360-degree videos can “deliver higher levels of consumer engagement than traditional video ads” with the added interactivity. Brands and marketers need to start experimenting with these new formats to keep up with the evolving digital video landscape and tailor content for the mobile-first consumers today. Don’t be the last content producer forcing users to use two hands to view your content.


Update 7/24: YouTube has updated its iOS mobile app to add support for vertical video fullscreen display as well.


Source: The Next Web & Marketing Land


Facebook To Challenge YouTube With New “Suggested Videos” Stream

Read original article on: Re/code

Continuing its effort in eclipsing YouTube’s video ad revenues, Facebook has announced a new initiative to start sharing ad revenue with some of its most popular video creators. Despite setting the revenue split at 55%-45%, the same ratio as YouTube, two significant differences set the two platforms apart for advertisers.

First, unlike YouTube, Facebook won’t run pre-roll ads, but instead will put video ads in between videos within its new “Suggested Videos” stream, a feature it started testing last week. It offers a stream of content, so a user might watch three videos before seeing an ad. An implication of this is that ad revenue on Facebook would be divided among multiple video creators, whereas on YouTube, the 55% of revenue split goes to a single creator.

Second, Facebook seems to be taking a stricter approach towards video monetization. Unlike on YouTube, where any user can easily add pre-roll ads to their videos with a few clicks, Facebook is only partnering with some established content creators like the NBA, Hearst, and Funny Or Die on this new revenue share program. Although it leaves out the rest of user-generated video content that usually dominates News Feed, such selective measures may help ensure the content quality of the video stream, therefore giving advertisers more control over the type of content that their ads would appear with.

Twitch And YouTube Fighting Over E3 Streaming

Read original story on: The Verge & Variety

The E3, (short for Electronic Entertainment Expo), the CES for the video gaming industry, is currently underway. All giants in the gaming industry and adjacent are coming out with big announcements, vying for the attention and wallets of all gamers worldwide. But on a smaller scale, a fight for eyeballs is also playing out between Amazon-backed Twitch and Google-owned YouTube, which we anticipated weeks ago.

Last Friday, YouTube timely announced the imminent launch of YouTube Gaming, a brand new app and website carting specifically to gamers with features that sound exactly like Twitch’s offerings. E3 offers YouTube a great opportunity to start gaining traction among the gaming community, and the leading online video site is a shiny new E3 hub, which features “a 12-hour live stream marathon” filled with gamer interviews, commentary from YouTube stars, as well as exclusive demos of the newly announced games.

As the de-facto streaming site for video gameplays, Twitch enjoys an inherent advantage given its audience demo and platform focus. Besides the standard wall-to-wall live coverage of the E3 events, it will also, for the first time, allow users to “co-stream” all of Twitch’s broadcasts from the convention, so as to broaden the reach of its user-generated content and enrich its streams. It will be interesting to see how Twitch holds up against YouTube’s attacks, especially considering Google was reportedly set to acquire Twitch for $1 billion before backing out due to alleged conflicts with YouTube.



Vimeo Adds Subscription Model To Help Creators Monetize

Read original story on: TechCrunch

Vimeo will now allow video creators to charge for monthly subscriptions to their libraries of content, in addition to the video-on-demand feature it added back in 2013 for content owners to rent out or sell access to their videos. If successful, this new feature could spur many “mini-Netflixes”, further fragmenting the online video audience.

Positioned as an alternative to YouTube, Vimeo has always been averse to pre-roll ads or other forms of video advertising, focusing on exploring other ways of monetization instead. Adding support for the subscription model seems like a natural progression, if not a belated one. For media owners, this new feature poses a great opportunity to try out the increasingly popular subscription model.