One of the major hurdles in the adoption of digital OTT video streaming services has been habitual behavior - that habit being the traditional TV, which our very homes are built around as a key entertainment hub.
And while viewing on alternate devices has been rising (particularly smartphones), it's the home TV set that still defines broader viewing trends. That might evolve over time, but right now if digital providers want to win out, they need to also expand their offerings to the main home screen.
That's why this new update from YouTube is significant - following on from the launch of YouTube TV back in 2017, the Google-owned company is now making its integrated TV offering available in more regions, covering some 98% of households in the United States, with the remaining areas to follow soon.
YouTube TV integrates a wide range of popular cable and local TV channels, along with YouTube content, expanding your viewing options beyond traditional offerings. But the most significant element - for both YouTube and digital marketers - is that it brings YouTube videos direct to more TV sets, and greatly expands the reach, and potential, of YouTube's own ad offerings.
Indeed, according to YouTube, watch time of its content on TV sets has doubled year-over-year, bringing about new ad opportunities and capacity.
The integration of online ad options and traditionally offline channels broadens the opportunities for more advertisers - generally, TV ad campaigns are cost prohibitive, and well beyond the reach of smaller businesses and those looking to target very niche audiences. But through the expansion of YouTube viewing, so too comes new options for TV ads. For example, in October last year, YouTube launched a new ad targeting option which enables brands to specifically target users consuming YouTube content on their home TV sets.
The expansion of YouTube TV is crucial in this respect. And its current offering is pretty compelling.
As explained by The Verge:
"The service’s subscription price remains $40 per month, which gives you over 60 networks (with Viacom and Discovery networks being the main omissions), a cloud DVR with infinite storage space, and six separate user accounts per household."
If YouTube can push subscriptions, and generate more interest in their own, exclusive programming and content as a result, that could be a major step for online video advertising. If you've not considered the potential of YouTube ads for your business, and how they could supplement - or even replace - traditional TV campaigns, it may be worth keeping an eye on how the project develops throughout 2019.