The Polar Report

The Polar Report: Industry Insights #16

March 22, 2023

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 the rising costs of YouTube TV’s monthly subscription price, YouTube introducing ‘Multiview’ feature for sports, YouTube Studio introducing new podcast creation features, and disputes between TV programmers and YouTube over measurement.


Rising content costs cited as reason for YouTube TV's monthly subscription price increase to $73

YouTube TV has announced that it will be raising its monthly subscription fee from $65 to $73, citing the increasing costs of content as the reason behind the price hike. The revised rates came into effect immediately for new subscribers, while existing members will be charged the higher rate beginning April 18.

The company took to Twitter to explain the decision, stating that "as content costs have risen and we continue to invest in our quality of service," the monthly subscription would climb from $64.99 to $72.99, a rate that had remained unchanged for three years.

Despite the backlash from some users, YouTube TV maintains that it offers packages to suit all customers' needs, including those who do not have a Base Plan. People can also look at YouTube Primetime Channels for more standalone offers, according to YouTube.

The price differences between major TV streaming services are quite significant. Amazon costs $15 per month, followed by Disney+ at $11 per month. Netflix has a monthly cost of $10. However, YouTube TV is considerably more expensive than the others, costing a whopping $73 per month. 

It's worth noting that while YouTube TV is more expensive, it offers a different type of service compared to the other streaming platforms. YouTube TV offers live TV channels in addition to on-demand content, which explains the higher cost. Ultimately, the choice of which streaming service to use will depend on your viewing habits, budget, and personal preferences.

However, YouTube TV has around 5 million users begging the question of whether or not they will be nervous about drops in their user base. Ultimately, only a limited amount of people will be able to justify spending their money on multiple different streaming services, forcing them to choose.

Where YouTube does sit above the rest is the fact that they offer a vast library of free ad-supported content, which does include full episodes of many different tv programs. 

Full Article on Tech Times

YouTube TV Introduces ‘Multiview’ Feature for Watching Four Streams at Once

YouTube TV has introduced a new feature called "multiview" that enables subscribers to watch up to four preselected streams simultaneously. While the feature is currently only available to select U.S. users on TV devices, it will allow sports fans to watch multiple games and stay up-to-date on scores without having to switch channels constantly. Although some traditional TVs offer a picture-in-picture mode to address this problem, YouTube TV's digital platform allows for even more concurrent streams. Initially, multiview will only be available for sports content, with plans to expand it to other content in the future.

Subscribers can access the feature by selecting the "multiview" option from the "Top Picks for You" section of the YouTube TV app on their television, provided the feature is available. They can switch audio and captions between streams, as well as jump in and out of a full-screen view of a game. YouTube TV had to repurpose technology that its YouTube Live team had already built to enable multiple creators to go live together to bring the feature to market faster. The company plans to collect feedback from subscribers before it becomes more broadly available, hopefully by the NFL football season later this year.

Multiview is the latest addition to YouTube TV's suite of features and technologies designed to appeal to sports fans, including key plays, fantasy view, and 4K streaming. YouTube TV also recently announced a $2 billion-per-season deal with NFL Sunday Ticket, which was previously only available through DirecTV in the U.S. Although multiview alone may not attract more sports fans, in combination with other sports-friendly options, it could make YouTube TV a compelling offering compared to rivals such as Hulu Live TV.

From this, we can see that although there will be a price increase for YouTube TV, they have also attempted to provide some upgrades to the package. If this feature does come over to YouTube Live, then it could be hugely beneficial for creators. This would allow viewers to not have to pick which of their favourite streamers to watch, instead, they could seamlessly navigate between two or more of them depending on what is going on in that specific stream.

Full Article on Tech Times

Audience Development

YouTube Studio Introduces New Podcast Creation and Playlist Conversion Feature

YouTube is gearing up to launch its podcast feature and has announced that it will be rolling out new tools to support creators. With this widely rolled-out feature, creators will be able to create new podcasts and set up new playlists. The feature will have a new tab that is dedicated solely to podcasts and will be visible on the Content page.

Once officially launched, podcasts will showcase playlists and episodes, including videos from the playlist that will be eligible for playback through audio only. Podcast content will also be marked with an appropriate badge and will appear with show cards in user search results. Creators will need to include square-shaped podcast thumbnails with titles and comprehensive descriptions.

The YouTube platform will also provide creators with podcast-specific discoveries and recommendation features, making it easier for audiences to search for podcasts. In addition, YouTube plans to include dedicated analytics for all content marked with the podcast tag, including traffic sources, audience demographics, retention metrics, and revenue data.

YouTube has also given creators guidelines for creating public podcast playlists, featuring full-length episodes, and organising them in specific orders. During the setup process, YouTube advises creators to add descriptive titles and avoid generic terms like "Full Episodes" and "New Uploads." 

With it now being easier than ever to set up a podcast on YouTube we will likely start to see a surge in both new and experienced creators taking on the scene. Ultimately, this is exciting as a viewer, but also as an advertiser. If new podcasts can reach untapped audiences then that opens a world of doors for advertisers looking to target specific audiences. 

Full Article on Digital Information World


Measurement Sparks Dispute Between TV Programmers and YouTube

The TV industry's ongoing conversation about measurement has been dubbed "Everything Everywhere All At Once" by some, and with good reason. As the landscape continues to shift and evolve, traditional broadcasters are grappling with new players like YouTube entering the fray and trying to define their own measurement standards.

Last week, a group of TV broadcasters agreed on a set of bare minimum requirements for what can be considered a currency, which is a crucial step in ensuring that new and old currencies can be transacted effectively. The standards include impression-based measurement and full transparency into match rates and audience deduplication. The JIC also recommends limiting the use of panels and relying more on big, nationally representative data sets.

However, YouTube's proposed measurement standards have come under fire from traditional broadcasters, who feel that the platform's approach doesn't accurately reflect TV ad verification. YouTube's pitch is based on the Media Rating Council's view-ability standards, which require that an ad be viewed for at least two seconds. But this standard is for video display ads on web or mobile browsers, not for TV ads.

The dispute over measurement standards is just one of many between YouTube and traditional broadcasters. YouTube has refused to support currencies outside of Nielsen, and TV networks have rejected the idea of user-generated content being considered premium video.

While the JIC and Paramount are working to lay the groundwork for measurement standardisation, the process is taking longer than expected. Amy Leifer, the chief advertising sales officer at DirecTV, points out that getting new currencies to work together requires significant investment from both buyers and sellers, and this is holding up progress.

Nevertheless, investment is increasing from both sides, and non-Nielsen measurement will likely become more commonplace in TV and video ad buying in the near future. The question is, how much of an impact will alternative currencies have on the 2023 up-fronts? Only time will tell.

Full Article on Ad Exchanger