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YouTube Increases its Premium Video Ad Inventory: NewFronts '19

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YouTube's advertisers will soon have more opportunities to buy premium ad placements, the company announced at its yearly Brandcast event tonight, which took place at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

For one thing, the company is updating the algorithm that determines which videos make the cut for Google Preferred status. Google Preferred is what YouTube calls its most premium content: highly watched videos from established online stars. The algorithm is being tweaked to emphasize videos watched on TV screens and that have strong production values.

News 1That's not the only change to Google Preferred, as all of YouTube TV's 70 broadcast and cable channels are also joining the tier. That means a lot of live, connected TV video is now part of the offering.

YouTube is changing the rules for its upcoming YouTube Originals, making these produced shows and specials available for ad-supported free viewing starting in the fall. Don't look for it all happen at once, however, as YouTube is still experimenting with different models. For example, the entire second season of Cobra Kai debuted to paying customers last week. YouTube will make the first season available for free viewing from August 29 to September 11, then starting September 11 the second season will be available for ad-supported viewing. So new content will be available for free viewing in different windows, and sponsors will get a chance to advertise on YouTube Premium shows.

YouTube likes to drop impressive stats during its events, and the latest is that the company streams 250 million hours per day to TV screens. Also, it now reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds in a week than all cable and TV networks combined.

Other highlights from the day's newfronts:

Meredith

Meredith announced support for vertical mobile video during its newfront, especially on IGTV. It will have 20 video series on the platform this year, 15 of which are already live (and which have accumulated 20 million views). Meredith is targeting women in its video efforts and leading with "the three Rs of celebrity: red carpet, reality, and royals."

Target

The mystery is over: The retail giant's big news for NewFront Week is that it's renaming and rebranding its three-year-old Target Media Network, which uses the company's first-person data to serve targeted ads. The network is now called Roundel, a name chosen because a roundel (a circular decorative element) is visually similar to the company's bulls-eye logo.

With the new name, the company wants agencies to see Roundel as more than Target's ad network. It works with a large variety of media platforms and partners ("more than 150 brand-safe external channels like Pinterest, PopSugar and NBC Universal," the company said in a statement) selling many products that Target stores don't carry. Having "Target" in the name seems to have been holding it back. The new name is effective immediately.

Digitas

Marketing agency Digitas used its newfront to announce that it's working with the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library to create JFK Moonshot, an "augmented reality documentary app experience" that will launch on July 16, JFK's 102nd birthday, and mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The app features AR games, archival video, and historic artifacts from the JFK presidency. JFK Moonshot will be a free download for iOS and Android.

Photo: Dude Perfect on stage at the YouTube Brandcast 2019 (FilmMagic for YouTube)

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