Brandon Doerrer
May 18, 2024

‘Creators are the new Hollywood,’ declares YouTube CEO at Brandcast

Neal Mohan discussed how creators are driving growth in YouTube viewing on connected TV as part of the platform’s creator-heavy pitch during upfronts week.

Pictured: Neal Mohan, CEO, YouTube, at the video platform's 2024 upfront. (Photo credit: Brandon Doerrer)
Pictured: Neal Mohan, CEO, YouTube, at the video platform's 2024 upfront. (Photo credit: Brandon Doerrer)

While upfronts presenters such as Amazon and NBCUniversal deployed big-name Hollywood celebrities to bring star power to their presentations, YouTube took a different tact, instead hanging its hat on the power of its creators.

“They are the new Hollywood,” said CEO Neal Mohan in his opening remarks.

At its Brandcast presentation on May 15 at the Lincoln Center in New York City, the Google-owned video platform spent a significant portion of its time providing stats showing that its users are increasingly engaging with the platform on connected TV (CTV), thanks in large part to creators. 

Mohan shared that viewers watch more than 1 billion hours of YouTube content on TV screens daily, on average, and that YouTube views on CTV have grown more than 130% in the past three years.

“That’s why we’re the leader in streaming watch time in the U.S.,” he said. “Creators are drawing audiences to the big screen.”

Creators and personalities including Kinigra Deon and Shannon Sharpe shared that viewers consume around 70% of their content on CTV. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell joined Sharpe to talk about how YouTube provides behind-the-scenes access to athletes, who are increasingly becoming YouTube creators themselves.

Other creators Rachell Hofstetter (Valkyrae), Haley Kalil (Haleyybaylee) and Sydney Morgan spoke about the engagement they get on the platform through gaming, sports and beauty, respectively. 

“Our creators are the future of entertainment,” said Mary Ellen Coe, chief business officer at YouTube. “We’re adding more of our incredibly talented creators, including many you’ve seen here tonight, so you have even more choice when deciding which creators you want to work with.”

She added that 75% of YouTube Select impressions come from TV screens. 

YouTube also announced a new AI-powered ad format for connected TV that uses non-skippable assets across in-stream inventory as well as branded QR codes for video ads. YouTube Select is also getting 30-second non-skippable ads this week.

Citing Nielsen results provided this week, Sean Downey, president of the Americas and global partner at Google, stated that YouTube is the second most-watched media distributor overall and drives a higher return on ad spend than TV, online video and paid social. He also briefly touched on Google’s recently announced marketing mix model, Meridian.

“Proof matters, so we offer first and third-party measurement solutions so you can measure by anyone’s metrics,” he said. “Meridian empowers your team to measure effectiveness across YouTube video and all of your other media investments.”

Brands including Pepsi, DoorDash, Toyota, Walmart, Samsung, Taco Bell and shared campaign successes they’ve seen on the platform during the stat-heavy presentation.

Brandcast closed with a brief performance from Billie Eilish, who performed tracks including “What Was I Made For?” from the Barbie soundtrack and “Ocean Eyes.”

Campaign US

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