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Scattered Audiences Put Spotlight on Transparency as Video Publishers Uncover New Revenue Streams

No medium has gone unaffected by the pandemic, and creators of all shapes and sizes continue to adapt their approach. The same audiences aren’t where they used to be, while new audiences are sprouting up on different screens. Peak consumption days and times remain off-kilter from what was previously the case. Publishers are in need of transparency around who’s watching and where — and how that can create new revenue streams.

One place where this is occurring already is social video. NBC News recently shared with Digiday’s Tim Peterson that it’s making “millions” on YouTube after adjusting its strategy on the platform to cater to live video audiences. As Chris Berand, EVP of Digital at NBCUniversal News Group told Peterson in the piece: “We got serious about our YouTube strategy last year and really got purposeful.”

“There was a material change in the last two years or so where it seems like the platform in general is giving a larger reach for live videos,” added Tubular Labs CRO Denis Crushell. Observing and measuring that material change and being able to adjust content strategy accordingly is how publishers — even behemoths like NBC — can be more agile and responsive to the market, no matter what it’s throwing at them.

It’s stories like this that highlight the demand for metrics that quantify audiences in ways that are comparable to TV, and then lets creators monetize accordingly. It’s also why the Global Video Measurement Alliance (GVMA) continues to gain momentum since its founding in 2019.

The GVMA recently added new members BBC Studios, WildBrain Spark, Digitas and Weber Shandwick as the latest sign of the evolved thinking around the value of social video. By not only adding publishers and brands, but also agencies to its ranks, the GVMA — which emphasizes Tubular Audience Ratings as the transparent measurement standard by which these video revenue opportunities can grow — is showing how the supply side is ready to scale up its investment on these platforms.

Moving beyond the fuzzier, platform-dependent “views” as a metric, Tubular Audience Ratings provide creators and agencies with the ability to identify audiences and watch behavior in ways they hadn’t before, and then act upon it. The results of making informed decisions based on watch time and deduplicated views can help fuel unexpected returns (and dollars to go with it). Using Tubular Audience Ratings, we can see that NBC News is getting watch time per unique viewer beyond even what top, “lean-back” kids content is generating. In December, for example, NBC News was seeing 11.2 minutes watched per unique viewer — while Cocomelon was at (still a very high) 9.0.

Having that insight is essential to those “millions” NBC discussed with Peterson, and it’s exactly the sort of data that’s driven TV decisions for years. As adoption of these metrics grows, it should unlock more opportunities to tailor content and advertising accordingly and actually nail down those ever-shifting audiences.