The Polar Report

The Polar Report: Industry Insights #14

September 21, 2022

Welcome to The Polar Report, a curated view of what’s happening in the world of Digital Monetisation, Audience Development and Measurement. This week we dive into Google commencing shopping season, YouTube testing five unskippable ads, YouTube allowing creators to make video replies to comments on YouTube Shorts, YouTube integrating its Music platform more closely with Shorts, and TV consumption still seeing a rise in the amount consumed by streaming services.


YouTube is testing Five Unskippable ads instead of Two

YouTube is a free platform, anyone can watch a video and anyone can post a video. However, YouTube is always looking for more efficient ways to monetise its global audiences. One of the ways it does this is through advertising. YouTube provides several different ad formats for creators and marketers to employ, and promotes the application of different formats together to effectively tell stories.

Another way in which YouTube generates revenue is through YouTube premium. The most up to date statistics suggest that YouTube has 50 million Premium subscribers, and with the monthly cost being $12 dollars, it is estimated that these subscribers bring in $600 million a month. One of the main benefits of YouTube premium is ad free viewing. The amount of premium subscribers may increase over the next coming months as YouTube has begun testing five unskippable ads in a row, an increase over the current amount of two unskippable ads.

Ultimately, this is a decision that would be expected from a streaming giant like YouTube. Several users who were placed into the test have expressed their disliking and disappointment on Twitter. YouTube did respond, and proclaimed that the ads would only be bumper ads, which are six seconds long. Therefore, five of those would account to 30 seconds of unskippable content before a user could watch a video.

From a user perspective, it’s a smart move from YouTube as they are creating more advertising real-estate in the same interruption period. Originally YouTube used to serve one 30s non-skippable ad, they progressed this to only serving 15/20s non-skippable + 6s bumper. Now they are breaking this 30s window further to even shorter ads. It follows changing user behaviours in line with shorter attention spans and forces advertisers to be smarter with their messaging. The alternative to advertising is simply to pay for YouTube premium.

At The Polar Bears we would argue that there are pros and cons to a move like this. From a creator / media owner perspective, it will generate more revenue. For the advertisers it creates greater reach opportunities and for consumers it gives them a clear choice. Ultimately users will determine its success if they drop off revenue. Content is still king on the platform users will be willing to wait 30s to access what they perceive to be free content.

Full Article on Business Today

Audience Development

YouTube now allows Creators to make Shorts as Direct Replies to Comments

Social media is a cloning game. When one platform has a feature, another platform copies. We saw this first with stories, first introduced by Snapchat in 2013. They were copied by Instagram first, then Facebook. Now, most social media platforms have a story feature. More recently, we can see TikTok directly copying BeReal with the new TikTok Now feature. It seems as though YouTube is also getting involved by implementing a feature prominent on TikTok that allows creators to make videos as a reply to comments.

There is no doubt that this feature will be a success as we’ve seen on TikTok. Replying directly to viewers with a short video will always be far more intimate and engaging than a traditional text comment. It also adds a sense of authenticity that it really is the creator responding and not their agency managing their page. It provides new opportunities for creators to run live video Q&A’s and much closer interaction with their audiences. YouTube themselves said that a feature like this will give fans more content to consume, and will positively impact time spent on YouTube.

The Polar Bears focus on growing audiences in different ways, this new product does not only open up wider interactivity for creators, but can be applied to traditional media owners. Let’s take the example of a broadcaster releasing a new reality show. They could enable TV talent to respond directly to comments on clips / compilations published as YouTube Shorts. It could even go as far to direct what reality stars do in the next episodes. Asking fans who they should date next is a new way of bringing audience interaction to a live TV broadcast. This level of engagement will help push the videos and grow the audience numbers.

Full Article on Tech Crunch

YouTube Shorts and Music are to be integrated more closely with each other

It seems like a lot of YouTube’s focus at the moment is on their short-form content app YouTube Shorts, after all, YouTube do receive 30 billion daily views from them. In a bid to develop the feature further YouTube have decided to integrate more closely with YouTube music. Ultimately, music is a strong addition to short-form content that should definitely not be underestimated. It is so strong in fact, that it can resurrect a 37-year-old Kate Bush song.

The new implementation will work in a way that is similar to TikTok in the sense that you will be able to click on the sound at the bottom of a YouTube short. Here you will be able to see all of the other videos that are using that sound. You will also be able to save the sound and listen to it later within the YouTube Music app. Similarly, if you hear a sound that you want to use in a YouTube Shorts you can. This is done by saving the sound in a playlist that is accessible from the YouTube shorts app.

By developing and adding new features to YouTube Shorts and other apps within YouTube, they are making the overall experience better for the creator. This integration will make it easier for creators to post videos using sounds on YouTube, which may make the videos easier to discover. This would help them grow their audiences and in turn increase their monetisation capabilities.

For YouTube this is a smart move. This partnership will encourage creators to implement sounds directly from YouTube Music. With more people using YouTube Music, there will be more opportunities to generate revenue from the platform.

Full Article on Tech Crunch


TV consumption from Streaming services continues to rise

Nielsen, a media measurement company, releases a monthly snapshot of TV and streaming information called The Gauge. The latest report revealed that streaming represented 35% of overall TV consumption in August. This makes it the second month in a row that streaming is at the top of the TV viewing category within The Gauge.

Interestingly, the total time spent watching TV was down in August compared to July. Despite this, broadcast, cable and streaming services all saw slight increases in their share of watch time compared to July. The report also showed that the time spent watching YouTube had increased by 2.8% in August. For the first time YouTube has tied with Netflix at 7.6% of total TV viewing.

Overall, it seems as though there are no surprises when it comes to the impact that streaming services are having on TV. One of the most impactful statistics was the comparison between now, and one year ago. In August last year streaming consumption was at 22.6%. When this is compared to this year's 35% it is clear to see that streaming consumption is growing at an extremely fast rate with no signs of slowing down. With improvements being made constantly to improve the users experience it would be fair to say that if anything the growth will speed up. The advice for the few who are not advertising as effectively as they should be on streaming platforms would be to watch the space and get in there before it’s too saturated.

Full Article on Martech Series