Alphabet will be rolling out their long-awaited YouTube TV over the next several months. The service will provide access to over 40 premium cable networks for a monthly fee of $35. Don’t get too excited, my Canadian friends, this service will only be available in select US cities. I suppose time will tell whether this service will make its way north of the border. And by ‘time,’ I really mean the CRTC.
YouTube has been telling advertisers for a long time that they would begin competing with the conventional broadcasters for ad dollars. This recent announcement has been met with some concern from major brands such as Verizon and J&J, who have decided (for the time being) to pull back on their YouTube spends as a result of ads being shown next to inappropriate content. Last week, several other brands followed suit, including PepsiCo, Starbucks, and Walmart.
Google attempted to curb the controversy last week, pledging publicly to roll out new controls for marketers. Changes include a new video verification process, long sought by advertisers, and a staffed hotline dedicated to brand safety. Another layer of protection offered is a type of AI that flags suspect videos. The new approach will now yank ads if offensive language appears on a t-shirt in a video, for instance — something that didn’t happen before.
Despite the recent advertiser backlash, if there is any company that can overcome this setback it’s Alphabet. The fact remains they have negotiated deals with the largest cable networks in the US and have yet again found a way to get in front of cord-cutting audiences in a more profound (and revenue generating) fashion.
One thing I do know is that the Canadian networks will be paying very close attention to how this rolls out in the US markets. The success down south will pave the way for the expansion of YouTube TV into other markets, including ours.
Fifth Story will continue to monitor the noise and share our thoughts on this important and impactful media landscape shift with you.