Streaming Growth Raises New Brand Safety and Suitability Issues

Posted by Brand Safety Institute • Apr 6, 2023 1:58:29 PM

CTV continues to gain ground vs linear TV. It is especially convenient for young people who consider their TV watching as “portable”, or, to not be tethered to a cable TV system relationship.

These are some of the findings in a new report from TVREV, "Streaming in Flux".

  • Free streaming is more popular than paid streaming, though viewers over 45 still watch more traditional linear. 
  • When you combine the various holding company properties together, Disney comes out on top, largely due to the popularity of Hulu. (Meaning Bob Iger should think twice before letting it go.)
  • Even more surprising is the size of Disney’s lead— 44.0% report streaming a Disney service at least once a month, versus #2 YouTube at 31.1%.
  • That YouTube stat is also notable in that the survey specifically asked consumers which services they watched on their TV sets, not their phones and laptops. This confirms something we’ve been noticing—that YouTube viewing on TV sets appears to be skyrocketing (See Nielsen’s “The Gauge” ratings for similar findings.)
  • YouTube viewing is slightly heavier among viewers under 45, where it edged out Netflix for the number one spot, 35.2% to 33.6%. The reverse was true among the 45-54 set, where Netflix maintained a more commanding lead, 28.4% to 22.2%.

The key point here is the strength of YouTube — which once Disney holdings is split between Disney+ and Hulu — is leading the pack. Incredible. Granted YouTube has invested in carrier relationships, but this is only part of their overall appeal, as snacking becomes a trend in viewing habits.

Much of what is on YouTube is indeed low-budget, low production value user-generated “content” with all the pejoratives that word calls up.

But there's also a growing body of work on there that rises above—web series and short films created by people who have worked at mainstream TV networks and movie studios, many of which feature high production values and run at or close to 20 minutes, the number generally accepted as the “cut-off” for TV.

So is the future of TV based on some mix of professionally produced content and UGC content? This would have major implications for brand safety. 

Looking at the success of YouTube, there should soon be the rise of other/another UGC based streaming channel, and we should also look for some of the branded CTV outlets (ie, Tubi, Paramount+) to begin to add UGC options on their services. Look for that to impact brand safety efforts and needs as entertainment becomes less professionally produced within the total mix of viewing.

Meanwhile, all eyes are on Netflix and HBO, as they add advertising to viewing environments that were not built and “sanitized” for ad placements. This will challenge brands and their agencies to be conscious of, and work within, their own brand suitability guidelines

As we transition how we receive entertainment over the near term, the Brand Safety Institute will work with the digital advertising industry with certifications for individuals and organizations so it can be in front of these ongoing challenges when it comes to protecting brands.

Topics: Brand Safety, YouTube, Brand Suitability, content creators