YouTube saw 65% increase in watch time on TV screens of its sports videos (excluding live content) in 2020, which led to YouTube refreshing its Sports Platform – a hub for sports related news, statistics, and locally trending content. This summer, which is packed with major sports events, YouTube is seeking to elevate the live streaming experience of sports events as well.
As reported by YouTube:
“We’re excited to share more innovative features we’re bringing to YouTube TV – from new experiences to help you feel like you’re actually there, to navigation tools that help you quickly find your favorite events.”
The main hope for the 4K Plus package is to help people feel like they are actually present at the event. To aid that mission, YouTube is enabling 4K Plus subscribers to follow the action in 4K resolution, with unlimited number of streams, as well as 5.1 Dolby audio capabilities for all YouTube TV members – the last one being a direct answer to the highest request by users who wish to enhance their viewing experience with surround-sound audio. These additional features can help YouTube deliver a more theater-like experience, giving them a unique advantage over its competitors who are less focused on live event streaming.
YouTube TV has been a focus point for YouTube ever since it launched in 2017, and the reason for it is simple – over the last decade people have wanted more control over what, how, where, and when they watch video. In fact, in 2019, Google reported that YouTube was reaching more 18- to 49- year-olds than all cable networks combined as well as 86% of those who have either cut cable out of their lives or never even subscribed to begin with.
Now, YouTube wants to extend the level of control to its sports fans by enabling them to jump to the key moments while catching up on the live stream or watching the DVR recording later on, a feature already made available for news segments. YouTube is also adding a Medal count for event participants next to other relevant statistics, enabling viewers to get a better grasp on the overall performance of the countries going against each other. Users will also be able to search for any sport to add to their unlimited DVR space:
“Sports superfans can search for an entire league, just their favorite team, or record individual games or even tournaments. We’ve also recently added key plays directly to search on mobile, so if you want to find all the 3-pointers in your library, you can find them with one click.”
The updates are all about monetizing a passionate and active group of subscribers of YouTube TV. Most sports were paused or at least limited during the pandemic, leading people to revisit their favorite past events and building up a strong appetite for when live events would return. Sports fans are known for their passion, and now that their favorite events are returning with a fresh start, they become the perfect target audience for ads on TV as sports are rarely watched on smaller screens at home.
In fact, connected TV viewing rose in popularity during the pandemic as people sought for entertainment that enabled them to stay at home. This new pattern resulted in YouTube providing more tools for marketers who embraced the opportunity to run TV campaigns on lower budgets as well as adding ‘living room impressions’ to its analytics. This means brands and creators alike have an opportunity to reach more people and tailor their strategies to bring in more revenue.
4K Plus will be available for $19.99 a month, with first time subscribers who already have a YouTube TV account getting a free trial for 30-days and a special price of $9.99 a month for the first year.
Read the full details on the offer on YouTube Official Blog.