A hot potato: Do you like watching YouTube on your smart TV? Unfortunately, the experience will soon become less enjoyable. The company has announced that it will add unskippable 30-second ads to its top-performing content when watched on connected televisions
During the annual YouTube Brandcast event yesterday, the Google-owned company said that instead of seeing two 15-second ads consecutively, TV viewers will see a single 30-second ad. The Verge writes that these "non-skips" will appear on YouTube Select content, its advertising platform that targets the top 5% of YouTube videos.
YouTube executives said more than 150 million unique viewers in the US watched YouTube and YouTube TV on televisions for the month of December 2022, according to Nielsen estimates. It's the most-watched service on TV screens in the US across both streaming platforms and traditional TV networks, which is why the company wants to introduce longer ads (the 15-second ads will be sticking around, too).
"More and more, viewers are tuning into YouTube on the biggest screen in their home," said YouTube CEO Neal Mohan. "Viewers – especially younger viewers – no longer make a distinction between the kind of content they're watching."
In addition to the 30-second unskippable ads, the company said it will start testing "Pause Experiences" (above) for YouTube on TVs. These will show ads to viewers whenever they pause a video, similar to the pause ads Hulu debuted four years ago.
There's no word on when YouTube's 30-second/pause ads will start rolling out to smart televisions. But the news is certainly going to upset the millions of people who watch the service on connected TVs.
Google pushing harder on the ad front comes as little surprise. The company brought in $29.2 billion from ad revenue in 2022, an increase from the $28.8 billion it generated the year before, making up over 11% of Google's annual revenue. However, the $7.96 billion that came from ads in the fourth quarter of 2022 was down almost 8% year-on-year as the whole online advertising industry slumped.
In related news, it was recently discovered that Google is experimenting with a feature that shows a pop-up warning to anyone using an ad-blocker.