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The New Must See TV? It’s YouTube

I miss the days of Must See TV on NBC.  I love all of the great streaming options we have today, but it’s not the same as watching a block of television with 30 million other people on the same night and network. 

Worse still, no one younger than 30 has any idea what the heck you mean when you talk about broadcast TV and their television lineups, and that makes me feel old.  But I digress. 

For advertisers looking to park their dollars in a world where broadcast television is drastically lessened, they certainly miss those days, too. 

Media fragmentation has made their lives much more difficult while TV buying feels like it’s at a crossroads with diminished viewers, a broken business model and projects on hold from the writers’ strike and lingering actors’ strike. 

I’m not saying anything you don't already know. 

But TV buyers can find consumers and their GRPs on other digital platforms even beyond just CTV, where forcing ads on consumers with non-skippable functionality and weak targeting, will create an interesting backlash given Gen Z and Millennials have never had to deal with commercials before. 

Buyers already utilize other digital platforms for video needs, but they can go further. 

Want to talk about what the new Must See TV is, just in an entirely different form?  It’s YouTube. 

I know it sounds crazy but YouTube, with 2.8 billion viewers, is actually being underutilized given the eyeballs and current ad spend there.* 

  • Just compared to Meta, where 7.6% of time is spent digitally, yet has 19.6% of digital ad spend vs YouTube (7.5% eyeballs with 5.8% ad spend) there needs to be a shift on that alone.

  • People of all generations are watching YouTube: Sure, 82% of Gen Z and 78% of Millennials are on YouTube but so are Gen X (70%) and even Boomers (52%). 

  • Last year, U.S. adults spent more time watching digital video than traditional TV (by a healthy 28 minutes per day).  With less TV/streaming programming coming out next year due to the strikes, this number is going to skyrocket. 

  • Nearly 55% of time spent watching digital video is already through connected televisions with YouTube users watching more on a connected television than on mobile devices. 

  • YouTube's share of U.S. TV time is equal to the cumulative share of Hulu, Disney+, Max, Paramount+, and Peacock. 

*eMarketer stats

All this is to say that consumers think of YouTube as TV.  Sure, it's not the same as 30 million people sitting down on Thursday night watching Seinfeld, Friends and ER, but in today's world, it’s their Must See TV. 

It’s time ad buyers think more aggressively - utilizing the targeting, the ease of finding GRPs and consumers at massive scale - in this manner, too. 

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