Google will hold their first ever upfront today, highlighting a bevy of star-packed channels and releasing exciting findings from a comprehensive study of YouTube trends. The online video behemoth, which shows 3 billion hours of video to over 800 million users, will be able to tell advertisers & marketers that their reach is amazing all across the world, and that studies are showing the trend of coveted age groups migrating more and more towards video. That said, YouTube isn't going to be content with what they have now: they expect to be streaming 25 hours of original content every day by June.
Google's Announcement Leading Into YouTube Brandcast
YouTube Brandcast will be Google's first upfront, one that they will be presenting to more than 1000 marketers.
At a press conference call earlier this morning, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt opened by saying,
"If you take a look at the phase we're in now, it sure looks to me like we're about to see another large explosion in the use of video. The growth rate is accelerating, the traffic is accelerating, the content is accelerating. And I think it's because it solves new problems: people are finding themselves using video in everything. It's changing our communities, it's changing the way we live, and so forth."
Schmidt would go on to talk about the explosion of bandwidth coinciding with better speed and monetization has led to this video uprising. He then echoed the sentiment that the "video everywhere" model is the third wave of viewing choices, TV-to-cable, cable-to-internet.
When asked about the new phase, Schmidt wanted to clarify, "We certainly don't see it as a replacement, we see it as an augmentation. This is an incredibly important point. If you're looking at the televisions that are coming out, virtually all of them have [the equipment] available today. They also will have "Direct to Netflix buttons, Direct to YouTube buttons, and new generations of the very high end televisions will have direct connections to Google TV, which is a generalized platform for manipulating video. So it's additive."
He classified YouTube as "another distribution channel," rather than something set to replace TV and cable as we know it, but it does have different advertising strategies which they hope to highlight to the marketers at Brandcast.
Schmidt said, "The existing models continue, and this new model which has grown so quickly, continues to become more and more popular, especially in places where traditional stuff is not available, which is most of the world."
Global Head of Content Robert Kyncl said, "Today is the culmination of a multi-year effort that started with making sure that YouTube is distributed all around the world in as many countries as possible. The second phase, which started around 2008, 2009, is when we started to focus on monetization, both in terms of ad sales and inventing new ad products, and TrueView is one of those inventions."
Kyncl continued, "The third phase, which started about a year ago, is with content, where we decided to pour some gasoline onto the fire of creativity, the results of which you'll see today at the event and everywhere onscreen where YouTube is from now on."
The fourth step will be easier user interface. Kyncl said, "This is a sneak peek into not what we will be doing, but what we already have done."
The Google executives were also asked about their competitors, such as Yahoo, who have been investing more into video in the past few months. Kyncl said, "The way you should think about all those other brands is [they're] like TV networks. What they focus on is discreet pieces of content all under the umbrella of their brand and market it to consumers. We're trying to do something different."
Kyncl continued, "We're allowing others to build their aggregation brands, their content brands, on YouTube. And we essentially get YouTube out of the way to let those brands connect with the viewers on a much narrower focus basis. So we behave a lot more like a distributor of channels, rather than a distributor of discreet pieces of content."
When asked about the metrics proving that marketers are making the transition, Lucas Watson, VP of Global Video Sales, said, "AT&T, Unilever, General Motors, Toyota, have all embraced channel content early, and are some of our best and earliest adopters."
Google To Announce New Channels At Brandcast
Schmidt says, "We've launched somewhere between 40-50 of the original channels. We're launching new channels every week. So we're about halfway through." Schmidt added that these are not coming in "waves," and they are not waiting for particular times to launch channels. They're just launching them when they're ready.
- WIGS. This channel is dedicated to the lives of women, and will star Virginia Madsen, Stephen Moyer, Caitlin Gerard, Jennifer Garner, Alfred Molina and Julia Stiles in the first three series, with Jennifer Beals, America Ferrera, Dakota Fanning, Michael C. Hall, and Alison Janney in future series. It will be dramas and documentaries focusing on women's lives, coming from filmmakers Jon Avnet (Fried Green Tomatoes) and Rodrigo Garcia (Albert Nobbs).
- Team USA. From the United States Olympic Committee, this channel will highlight 2012 US Olympians, include instructional videos, and will play footage from Olympic Games past.
- The Picture Show. Tribeca and YouTube partner Maker Studios will join forces on this channel.
- Halo 4: Forward Into Dawn. Machinima and Halo Waypoint will unleash the action series, focusing on events leading into Halo 4 just before its blockbuster game release.
Generation V: Trends With Coveted Age Groups And Video
"Generation V" is a comprehensive study of viewer trends, and YouTube found that men ages 18-34 are spending more time streaming video than watching live TV, with a third visiting YouTube several times in a day, half subscribe to a channel, and two-thirds sharing a video in the past week. 40 percent of women ages 25-49 subscribe to a channel, half of them shared a video, and a third often share a video with their kids or parents.
It looks like Google has a huge amount of ammo to present advertisers.