OTT Content on YouTube Offers New Ad Opportunity

Over-the-top streaming services are big traditional TV advertisers gaining viewers, but when it comes to connecting with fans, they’re increasingly going online, according to Zefr, which helps marketers target viewers on YouTube and Facebook.

Zefr says that over-the-top shows are among the most popular content on YouTube, and while a lot of traffic is generated by official channels, fan content is also generating billions of views, making YouTube a potential place for advertisers to connect with fans of those shows.

In its recent TV 3.0 report, Zefr found that 77% of the views of Netflix related content was driven by fans. There are more than 81,000 fan channels on YouTube versus 10 official channels. Those fan channels had 4.7 billion fan views and 46.8 million fan engagements, compared to 1.2 billion views and 10.9 million engagements on the official sites.

“The study shows something we’ve known for a long time, which is fan communities that are watching OTT content are going to YouTube when they want to extend the conversation,” says Zefr co-CEO Rich Raddon.

The trailer for season 2 of Netflix’s Stranger Things quickly attracted about 9 million views on YouTube.

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“You see a lot of advertising of Netflix shows on YouTube, It’s a really fertile ground because of all the activity that’s going on in these communities,” YouTube is a great place because we know the younger streaming audience is very tech savvy. It’s a great place to mine for new subscribers or new subscribers of content. “

Zefr wouldn’t say if Netflix is a client, but said it frequently works with OTT companies.

The top over-the-top show on YouTube is HBO’s Game of Thrones. It is followed by an older HBO show, 'Sex and the City'.

The rest of the top ten are Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, Last Week Tonight, Marvel’s Defenders, Curb Your Enthusiasm House of Cards, Narcos and 13 Reasons Why.

Advertisers can buy commercials in these shows on HBO or Netflix, but there are opportunities to be near that popular content on YouTube.

"If you're a marketer at Netflix,  if you're a marketer at it Hulu or Amazon Prime and you're releasing 80 feature films you know in a year, how do you target appropriately the audience that would be interested in that kind of content,” says Raddon.

Radon says movie studios and TV networks have been using entertainment-related content on YouTube to promote films and series.  

But there are opportunities for marketers of other products as well.

“Advertisers that are used to buying specific content can capitalize on the scale of YouTube,” says Toby Byrne Zefr’s president.

“There’s a vast amount of content on YouTube that may not be produced by Netflix or HBO that is brand suitable and brand safe, and that’s part of what our core business is at Zefr,” says Byrne, who had been president of ad sales at Fox Networks Group before joining Zefr. “

“Our advertising business, what our technology can do, which is unique and differentiated from any other third party technology on the YouTube platform, is we curate videos one by one. We then align the videos for content that is relevant to brands and then we sell those packages to advertisers.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.