YouTube, this time it’s personal.
That was the message at Brandcast, YouTube’s annual NewFronts event to entertain advertisers with highlights of its top shows and creators. YouTube is now promoting its platform as “personal prime time,” slicing up audiences according to niche interests.
“We can deliver personalized media in a way we never could before,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said at the start of the NewFronts showcase.
YouTube has been pitting itself against TV for years, trying to secure a slice of the ad pie. However, the company has also faced brand safety problems that have concerned advertisers, with extremist videos, political disinformation, and most recently, a comments section filled with links to pedophilia.
That’s why this year at Brandcast, YouTube was focused on its most mainstream creators producing shows that reach a community of fans with shared interests—cooking, dancing, makeup tutorials, how-to, fix-it shows, and stars like Tiffany Haddish and Justin Bieber.
Haddish was at Brandcast talking about a new channel, which sounds like it will combine every popular YouTube activity. “Every step of the way YouTube has been an important part of my success,” Haddish says. The comedian joked how she learned everything from YouTube—mechanics, making shoes, hair, carpentry. “I’ve been losing weight thanks to YouTube,” she said.
The personalized prime-time message is meant to signal to advertisers that they can sponsor programs according to these individual tastes, as opposed to just running ads on any random video, which has led to trouble in the past.
“YouTube is the only partner where you don’t just learn who your consumers are but also what your consumers want,” said Alison Lewis, global CMO at Johnson & Johnson, speaking at Brandcast about campaigns for Listerine and Neutrogena that ran on YouTube last year.
Neutrogena observed trends on YouTube that showed customers were interested in lemon ingredients in personal-care products, so it developed a line of lemon-infused Clean & Clear, Lewis says.
It wouldn’t be Brandcast without new shows and renewed content, of which YouTube named about 20 titles.
YouTube announced it renewed “Cobra Kai,” the “Karate Kid” sequel show, for a third season. Season 2 premiered this month, and it's one of YouTube’s originals.
This year, YouTube is starting to run originals with ads outside of its subscription paywall.
YouTube also announced an untitled show with Justin Bieber and there will be a new season of Kevin Hart’s “What the Fit.”
“While every other media company is racing to put their content behind a paywall we’re heading in the other direction and making our originals available for free,” said Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer.