YouTube are testing back-to-back ads on videos

There’s nothing worse than being engrossed in a YouTube video and it’s interrupted by a mid-video advert. So YouTube are testing out ‘ad pods’ to get multiple ads out of the way in one block.

YouTube have began testing playing two consecutive adverts before videos instead of splitting them out across the video. Creating a more uninterrupted experience would definitely enhance YouTube’s giant video platform with adverts popping up in the middle of longer videos often randomly placed and therefore disturbing the flow of whatever you’re watching.

YouTube are looking towards a TV-style block of advertising so that multiple ads play back-to-back, allowing videos to play for longer without interruption. YouTube have found in their own analysis that fewer interruptions in viewing sessions leads to higher rates of people actually watching the adverts and causes less people to leave the content. The new ‘ad pods’ will give viewers the option to watch two ads stacked or they will have the option to skip to the video after a set watch-time as usual.

YouTube are launching ad pods on desktop this year and are planning on bringing it to mobile and their TV apps soon after. YouTube want to enhance the viewer experience whilst retaining brands and advertisers strong connection with YouTube and their ability to reach YouTube viewers.

YouTube taking an approach more similar to TV doesn’t come as a surprise as they continue to re-invent the platform as not just a place for posting short and snappy content but also prioritise longer content and watching experiences. The facts speak for themselves as more and more users begin watching YouTube on their TVs – over 180 million hours of YouTube is watched on TV screens every day. As they continue to prioritise engagement and longer sessions with users we will no doubt see more updates that enhance extended YouTube viewing.

YouTube has paid out nearly $2 billion for music in the past year

YouTube have reinvented themselves for music in the past year and it’s paying off as musicians are making more than ever before on the world’s home for video.

Only 1 year ago and YouTube was a very different place for artists. The Google owned video giant was scrabbling to sign deals with the major labels and smaller rightsholders and publishing agencies as pressure from the music industry mounted over their poor payouts for artists with a streaming rate lower than all of the music streaming services.

That all changed this year with the launch of YouTube Music. Their new service offers a dedicated music service offering all of their varied music content from full albums to music videos and live concerts. Most importantly of all, with it’s own dedicated platform music now gets paid much more fairly on YouTube and not the same ad-revenues that every YouTube video receives.

YouTube revealed in their new report on fighting piracy that in the last 12 months they have paid out more than $1.8 billion in ad revenues to the music industry. That’s a giant 80% more than the year ending September 2017 when they had generated just $1 billion for the music industry. They say that all-in-all they have paid out over $6 billion in total ad-revenues to the music industry, meaning the past 12 months make up almost a third of all their music payments. That’s how significant YouTube Music is to artists and their livelihood on the video streaming site.

YouTube say in their report: “Combined with revenue from our growing subscription service, YouTube Music Premium, and money earned from monetising fan uploads, YouTube is contributing a meaningful and growing revenue stream for the industry while providing a powerful platform to engage with fans around the world.”

YouTube presented Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off as an example of the success that artists can find on YouTube. By July 2018 Swift’s music video had been watched over 2.5 billion times, which was more than 10x the amount of times it had been streamed on traditional streaming services. According to research by MIDiA, music videos now reach 1 billion views 10 times quicker that they did in 2010.

It’s a lucrative platform and now they’re compensating artists fairly, it’s a great place to be discovered and listened to. YouTube are definitely paying out artists more now but even last August their Head of Music, Lyor Cohen claimed: “Critics complain YouTube isn’t paying enough money for ad-supported streams compared to Spotify or Pandora. I was one of them! Then I got here and looked at the numbers myself.

“At over $3 per thousand streams in the U.S., YouTube is paying out more than other ad-supported services. Why doesn’t anyone know that? Because YouTube is global and the numbers get diluted by lower contributions in developing markets. But they’re working the ads hustle like crazy so payouts can ramp up quickly all around the world. If they can do that, this industry could double in the next few years.” With an 80% increase in music ad-revenue in the past 12 months, Cohen wasn’t wrong.

YouTube’s Creator Studio is getting even better

The Creator Studio is becoming YouTube Studio and it’s just not just getting a new name but a bunch of fresh new features.

YouTube are enhancing their platform for creators so that their creator portal offers the best experience for uploading your videos and keeping in touch with how well you are doing on the platform. The name change comes with a new build that makes delivering information much more efficient and speedier so you’re always in the loop with your channel’s performance.

The new dashboard, now called YouTube Studio, offers news and updates about the platform as well as performance information about a channel’s most recent videos all in one easy-to-find place. The idea behind the update is to create a better dialogue between YouTube and the millions of creators who use it and upload there every week with enhanced communication features.

The YouTube Studio highlights these new features:

  • Faster delivery of new products and enhancements to creators

  • Increased performance, stability, and accessibility

  • A new more efficient UI that’s built around creator workflows and access to new channel reach metrics such as impressions and unique viewers.

  • Improved performance tools such as Video Snapshot and Insights that tell you how your video is doing in comparison to previous releases.

The new YouTube Studio has launched for all English channels and is coming to 76 more languages over the next two weeks as they transition from the classic Creator Studio experience.

Launch your videos with suspense with YouTube Premieres

Give your videos the suspense they deserve with a build up to the grand event of them going live on YouTube, now that YouTube Premieres have launched globally.

Earlier this year YouTube gave creators the power to create an event behind their videos. Launched in June, YouTube Premieres allowed creators to bring their fans together and build suspense towards their upcoming videos for a new way of connecting with people and creating an experience on YouTube.

With YouTube Premieres you can schedule a video for upload and then build anticipation in the run up to it going live. Premieres have an upcoming watch page where channel fans can come together and chat as they wait for the video to go up and creators can join in the fun and see what their fans are saying as the video counts down to being available for watch.

Now the feature is available worldwide for everyone on YouTube, so no matter where in the world you are you can roll out the carpet and make a deal about your new video. With so many people live and ready for your video to go live it also allows your community of subscribers and supporters to stick around during and after the video to talk about it and share their thoughts.

YouTube have done a lot with their live experiences in recent years to create ongoing and current discussions. As with live-streaming, YouTube Premieres allow creators to use Super Chat and Channel Memberships to gain extra revenue as well as from sponsors or ad-money.

So make a deal out of your videos, get people talking, and launch your next video in style with YouTube Premieres now available for everyone around the world.

YouTube’s new mini player lets you browse as you watch

YouTube goes mini with a new player that lets you explore the bountiful land of videos all whilst watching your current one in the same page.

YouTube is a wonderful site full of videos ranging from 1 second to hours long, from factual documentaries to surrealist comedy animations. It has something for everyone and then even more, but it’s not the perfect site. What would your biggest gripe be with YouTube? Because mine has always been how I can’t search for other videos whilst watching – at least not without opening a new tab.

Finally there is a solution! YouTube have just introduced their mini-player. It works much like how the YouTube app works on smartphones, by shrinking the video into the corner of your screen and allowing you to browse YouTube and search videos all whilst continuing to watch and listen to whatever you were already watching. It’s simple too; you simply select a button next to the caption button and your player shrinks down to size.

With the mini-player you can explore the site whilst still controlling your video as well as watching it. The mini-player has play and pause functions as well as the option to go back to the previous video or skip to the next video. And selecting the the player outside of these buttons will bring the video back to it’s full size if you’re done browsing.

Google began testing the feature back in March with a limited number of users on desktop but now the feature has launched for everyone to enjoy. It’s a great new feature and opens up YouTube’s library for even more exploration, considering it’s greatest feature is that you can search from billions of videos with videos being added constantly all around the world.

Go from screen to stage with gig tickets on YouTube

Watching music videos on YouTube can often result in wishing you were seeing them live right now, and with Eventbrite on YouTube you can secure a gig right under the video.

YouTube have teamed up with Eventbrite to make buying concert tickets simple when an artist is on your mind. YouTube has become a hub for music with over 1 billion fans every month coming to YouTube to listen to music. With concert tickets now for sale under artist’s videos it’s easier than ever to see your favourite artists go from the screen to the stage.

Now when you’re watching a video from YouTube’s Official Artist Channels (launched this year), any gig tickets listed on Eventbrite for that artist will be advertised below the video. All it takes is a simple click on the ‘Tickets’ button and you’ll be able to purchase them straight away from Eventbrite. The partnership is only active in the US so only viewers in the US and gigs there will be advertised and available.

YouTube said in their statement: “Live events continue to be a major source of revenue for artists, so we want to help artists keep fans updated on their upcoming shows and sell more tickets to live performances. YouTube’s global audience also lets artists find new fans with 26% of Millenials (44% of teens) claiming they discover live music events on YouTube, according to Nielsen.”

According to YouTube themselves, they now cover over 70% of the ticketing market in North America and they have pledged to continue adding artists and venues “of all sizes” as they begin to expand globally. Presumably this means that they will be integrating concert tickets into artist videos further around the world as well as just in the US.

YouTube ended their announcement, saying: “We’re excited to further the power of video discovery on YouTube to bring artists and fans together and continue supporting those connections through live shows.”

YouTube is where 16-44 year old’s discover music around the world

The internet has transformed how we find and listen to music and a new report shows that YouTube is the place to go when it comes to finding your new favourite artists.

A new report from Midia Research looking at the “State of the YouTube Music Economy” has revealed YouTube is the place to go for music in 2018. YouTube is the most widely used streaming music app in the world and when it comes to 16-44 year olds, YouTube is the place to go to discover new music or re-listen to their favourite gems.

As the newer generations move towards streaming for all of their music needs, YouTube’s availability and ease of use have made it a favourite for music lovers. The report shows that YouTube is the main way 16-44 year olds around the world are discovering with a giant penetration rate of 73% of 16-19 year olds in Brazil. This has especially increased in recent years thanks to YouTube’s new approach and prioritisation of music.

Last year YouTube signed deals with all of the major record labels to rectify conflict with the music industry, with many musicians unhappy with how little they paid for music compared to other streaming services. Since resolving their low payout issues YouTube have taken music much more seriously. They have created a new separate platform for music, YouTube music, which acts much more like a traditional streaming service with the added benefit of music videos, live music, and more music content that you can get on YouTube.

It’s working to make music vastly more popular than it already was on YouTube. By the end of July this year, Vevo reported that ten music videos released this year had already reached 1 billion overall views. Together those videos have a total of 17.2 billion views. In 2010 it took on average 1,841 days for a video to reach 1 billion views.

YouTube made an immense $3 billion in revenue from their music content in 2017, however it trailed in revenues behind some other genres, particularly gaming videos which make up the majority of YouTube income. This accounted for 21% of their revenue last year, although music made up 32% of their overall views. Hopefully income and views will align much better this year with YouTube’s new focus on music.

YouTube lists the smartphones you should be watching videos on

YouTube have just launched a brand new report which lists all of the best smartphones for watching YouTube and which ones will diminish your viewing experience.

YouTube have revealed their ‘YouTube Device Report’ which recommends the best devices for a high quality YouTube experience. It came out after Samsung unveiled their Note 9 phablet device which they said would be a ‘YouTube Signature Device’ for 2019. The Galaxy Note 9 currently tops the whole list.

Devices selected for the top of the list will support high quality streaming up to 4K, high frame rates, high dynamic range, next-generation codecs, reliable DRM performance as well as the ability to watch 360-degree footage. Google have said that they have worked personally with manufacturers to verify that each device meets or exceeds their performance expectations.

Google say: “These smartphones can deliver the best-in-class YouTube experience by combining next generation technologies, video performance, and reliability. With a signature device, you can enjoy vivid HDR videos, immersive 360° video, and fast video load times – all while using less bandwidth.”

Signature devices will need to live up to these qualities:

High dynamic range

With support for High Dynamic Range (HDR), you’ll see videos that are richer in detail, with true-to-life colors. HDR capabilities allow a phone to display greater contrast, so you can see details of a videos, whether that scene is shot in the dark, or bright light.

360° video

Immerse yourself in a new world with 360° videos, which have been recorded in all directions. Look up, down, or all around; with 360° videos you’re in control of the viewing experience, through on-screen controls or through a VR headset.

4K decoding

While some devices display 4K on their screens, 4K decoding ensures that you’ll see videos in high resolution and stunning clarity on VR, delivering riveting experiences.

High frame rate

Enjoy gaming, sports, and action videos without missing a beat. Support for high frame rate (anything greater than 60 frames per second) means you get super smooth video playback.

Next generation codecs

Watch high resolution videos on YouTube while using up to 30% less bandwidth. 2019 Signature Devices are built with hardware VP9 profile 2 decoding, an advanced video codec technology.

Digital rights management performance

From YouTube TV to rental movies, Signature Devices seamlessly stream premium content without disrupting your viewing experience.

Vertical videos finally look good on YouTube

Bye-bye black bars. After years of discrimination YouTube are finally showing vertical videos the respect they (maybe) deserve on PCs.

Vertical videos on YouTube are finally going to look… better. Regardless of your opinion on whether vertical videos are sacrilege against viewing pleasure, YouTube are making the experience better by optimising vertical videos to fit your monitor rather than placing into the YouTube cube with black bars on either side.

Vertical videos now match the width of standard videos but extend below into the space where titles and descriptions are to allow it’s vertices to stretch out after years of fitting into the constrictions set by their wider brethren. This only works in Default View and not in the widescreen Theater Mode display, so the video will show in the left hand side of your tab with it’s new ratio.

Of course, this is nothing new for mobile viewers but smartphones have a vertical screen anyway so it’s always made sense. Rarely are monitors vertical, but this is an improvement that allows vertical videos more room to breathe even if they aren’t living up to their full potential. At the very least it gets rid of those annoying black bars which would taunt you with chants of “you’re watching a vertical video – you’re watching a vertical video.”

Vertical videos YouTube video stream watch format update feature

The new format will affect all videos in standard 16:9 format and vertical videos, as well as the 4:3 format videos of yesteryear’s. YouTube announced the update on Friday  and users have had the weekend to get to grips with the new layout and they’ve expressed their feelings…

Whilst it is generally an improvement for videos that don’t fit into the standard 16:9 widescreen format users are complaining that it has actually made it worse for watching some videos. Users are reporting that in some cases the update makes videos even smaller than they would have been when squeezed into the widescreen box. In other cases the update has lowered the quality of videos or even cut sections of it off.

A user on the Google Forums, where they announced the update, was just unhappy that they couldn’t choose whether to use the new layout or stick with the old one. User Dermacrosis said: “It’s bloody awful give us the option to turn it off.” Another user comments: “Some YouTube videos just don’t look good when the screen is big. Either give us a way to opt out of this, or fix it.”

It’s likely Google are still working out the kinks and will update it based on the user-response so far. But then it’s YouTube, so maybe not and this is vertical viewing now until the end of time. We’ll have to wait and see, for now enjoy those extra inches!

YouTube joins the dark side with their new theme for Android

YouTube are going dark with their new colour theme on Android taking them away from the light side, but only if you choose to join them.

Android owners can at long last fulfil their dreams of scrolling through YouTube on their devices with a cool dark ambience accompanying their video discovery. YouTube have launched their dark theme on their Android app, 4 months after they launched the feature to happy iOS users.

However you might not want to celebrate just yet as the feature hasn’t been announced by Google themselves yet and was in fact reported by Reddit user u/Absinth92. The user noticed over the weekend that their YouTube app had changed to dark mode with the option to disable and enable it now in their app settings.

User U/Absinth92 strangely didn’t discover the feature to activate but opened their app at the weekend to find it running already. They said: “Weirdly enough, I didn’t do anything to turn it on. But I just found it in Settings under General.” Others have reported the feature in their YouTube app but it hasn’t been rolled out to everyone.

If you’re one of the lucky few you can check your settings in your YouTube app on your Android device. Head the General section and it should be the second option from the top if it has been enabled for you. Google haven’t spoken about the Android launch at all nor have they commented on certain users getting the feature whilst many don’t but hopefully this isn’t a mistake and it will be rolling out to all Android users soon.