MARKING A MILESTONE: The Google-owned video site YouTube has had quite a decade — and a number of the individuals the platform helped fueled to celebrity status came to help celebrate the milestone.
At the company’s Newfront Brandcast presentation Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, chief executive officer Susan Wojcicki shed some light on exactly how large YouTube’s audience has become. Last year, the site reached more viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 than any cable network.
“According to Nielsen that’s still true but mobile growth has been so strong that now YouTube reaches more 18 to 49-year-olds on mobile alone than any cable network,” Wojcicki said. “It’s interactive and that means our users and fans are commenting, sharing, texting, tweeting, liking and coming back for more.”
The amount of time people are spending on YouTube is at an all time high, she said, with that number increasing by 40 percent year over year. She also cited a recent study conducted by Variety magazine that found that when teenagers were asked who the biggest stars are today, everyone named in the top five was a YouTuber.
The platform has five pillars: global, diverse, mobile, social and on demand, according to Wojcicki, and a rapidly changing advertising landscape. She noted that viewers are skipping fewer and fewer ads and are choosing to actually watch them. In fact, four of the top 10 trending videos last year were produced by a brand.
While page views are a great indicator of success of a video, engagement is also integral to the effect of a campaign. Just ask Bethany Mota, who has over eight million subscribers on YouTube. She has parlayed her celebrity on the site onto a gig with “Dancing With the Stars” and a fragrance deal.
Then there was the evening’s host, Grace Helbig, a 29-year-old comedian with over two million subscribers on her YouTube channel. Her book rose to number one on the New York Times Bestseller list, her podcast debuted at number one on iTunes and E! has even given Helbig her own show.
“I’m betting on the bond I have with my audience to make their advertisers happy,” Helbig said. “My YouTube community is my core, [and] the space that has allowed me to grow. The power of this fan community is real and it’s honest.”
Ze Frank, president of Buzzfeed Motion Pictures, detailed how YouTube has allowed Buzzfeed to flourish online. He said that Buzzfeed publishes about 50 videos a week on the platform and has surpassed the five billion mark in overall YouTube views.
“Our approach to editorial video is the same way we approach branded content. It’s not just about reach, it’s about reach times impact and finding the right blend of the two that maximizes results,” Frank said. “We look at the basic mechanic of the share — it’s the most powerful form of modern distribution.”