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YouTube Brings Music Videos to Google Preferred at Brandcast

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Advertisers buying into YouTube's top-shelf Google Preferred inventory now have a lot more options, as the company has added all of its premium major and minor label music videos to Google Preferred. The company made the announcement Thursday night at the YouTube Brandcast, its annual Digital Content NewFront Week event in New York City.

"I’m thrilled to announce that for the very first time, our complete music universe, including all Vevo videos, will be available in Google Preferred," said Robert Kyncl, chief business officer at YouTube. "This gives you the unprecedented opportunity to advertise against virtually all music in the world...Thank you to our partners at Universal, Sony, and Vevo who have joined Warner Music Group and countless indies to bring all of this exciting music to you.”

At last year's Brandcast, YouTube announced it was investing in original programming that would be available for all viewers, not just those paying for the YouTube Red subscription service. At this year's event, it announced it will create four new shows—including a special by Will Smith that will show him bungee jumping out of a helicopter for charity—and bring back favorites by Demi Lovato, Kevin Hart, and the Slo Mo Guys.

The seven originals launched last year earned over 700 million views, Kyncl said.

YouTube now gets over 1.8 billion monthly logged-in viewers, said company CEO Susan Wojcicki, with localized versions reaching 90 countries and 80 languages. 

Wojcicki offered two enhancements for advertisers: They can now reach  YouTube TV subscribers, and next season advertisers will be able to buy spots on cable TV shows using Google Preferred. Buyers using Google AdWords or DoubleClick Bid Manager will see a new "TV Screen" option.

Lest anyone think YouTube isn't big on TV, Wojcicki said nearly 7 in 10 YouTube viewers watch at least some YouTube on a TV screen, and users watch over 160 million hours of YouTube on TV screens every day. The TV is YouTube's fastest growing screen.

Last year's event had a cloud over it, as a recent brand safety scandal forced Wojcicki to address the crisis and talk about how YouTube would do better in the future. Those must seem like innocent days after the many brand safety scandals that followed. At this year's event, Wojcicki detailed all the resources YouTube is using to address its these problems. 

"With openness also comes challenges, as some have tried to take advantage of our services," Wojcicki said. "This year we devoted tremendous resources to address these challenges and we are committed to continuing our investment going forward. It’s incredibly important to me and to everyone at YouTube that we grow responsibly. There isn’t a playbook for how open platforms operate at our scale."

Those efforts so far included tightening content guidelines and policies, increasing the threshold for videos that can be monetized, and hiring 10,000 people (an ongoing project) to deal with problem videos. All Google Preferred inventory is reviewed by humans, Wojcicki assured the crowd of advertisers, and that's true in all Google Preferred markets around the world.

Wojcicki and the media buyers who look to her will have to hope these efforts are enough to stop more brand safety crises from cropping up in 2018.

Check back with StreamingMedia.com and OnlineVideo.net for additional NewFront Week updates.


YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki 

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