The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the nature of home entertainment, with Google seeing “major shifts in streaming viewership.” Brands are adjusting their advertising strategies in response, with YouTube now “accelerating the launch of a number of tools.”

According to Comscore, 70 million households in the US are now streaming content on connected TV screens. YouTube, specifically, has the “highest reach and viewing hours among ad-supported streaming services, and represents a quarter of all streaming watch time across both subscription and ad-supported platforms in the US.”

According to YouTube’s own data, there’s been an 800% YoY increase globally in the number of people watching ad-supported and purchased movies on the service’s dedicated hub, while there’s a 125% jump in TV shows and 250% spike in live content.

Stay at home directives have amplified this shift to the TV screens, as overall watch time there has jumped 80 percent year over year in March 2020.

Meanwhile, 60% of viewers watching on TV screens are gravitating towards videos just published in the last 7 days, while the viewing experience is now shared with others in the household.

In a recent custom Nielsen study commissioned by Google, we found that 26 percent of the time, multiple 18+ viewers are watching YouTube together on the TV screen, compared to 22 percent on linear TV.

As advertisers work to take advantage of this shift, Google is accelerating the launch of Brand Lift for YouTube on TVs. Survey ads will be optimized for larger screens and TV remotes. This is rolling out in the coming weeks as an option for advertisers to reach viewers in the YouTube app, while it’s coming to YouTube TV in early Q3.

Meanwhile, skippable ads are coming to content that is cast to television screens. Google notes casting watch time soared by over 75 percent YoY.

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