Google’s fight for connected TV share takes shape

Google’s two-fold plan to capture more connected TV advertising share is taking shape across the company’s YouTube and Android TV divisions.

Last month, the company revealed a new advertising program that will help marketers target viewers watching YouTube or YouTube TV on TV screens. YouTube Select will grow the amount of available upfront ad inventory on YouTube by bringing new channels into the Google Preferred program and, according to Ad Exchanger, it will make it easier purchase ads on YouTube TV and YouTube on TV screens through “Streaming Lineups,” which can be bought in the upfront or programmatically instead of through Google Ads.

There’s a large opportunity there for YouTube and YouTube TV. The company said that than 100 million people in the U.S. watch YouTube and YouTube TV on TV screens each month and that watch time on TVs was up 80% year-over-year in March. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, YouTube is facing challenges due to its perception among marketers.

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The publication said that advertisers still see YouTube as service primarily viewed on mobile devices and PCs, and that concerns remain about brand safety and overall quality of the content on the platform. Marketers also reportedly view YouTube apps on connected TVs as incremental reach for the advertising that was already purchased on the platform.

While YouTube and YouTube TV continue reaching for a bigger slice of the connected TV advertising pie – which eMarketer said totaled $6.5 billion in the U.S. in 2019 – Google appears to be refining its connected TV streaming device approach.

Right now, Google Chromecast devices don’t register much in the U.S. connected TV device marketplace dominated by Amazon and Roku. According to TDG’s “Benchmarking the Connected Consumer 2019” research, just more than 30% of adult broadband users have a streaming box, and 38% have a streaming stick. The data showed that Roku has approximately 51% share of the streaming box market in the U.S. and that Amazon Fire TV has a nearly 57% share of the streaming stick market for U.S. households.

However, XDA Developers recently unearthed some new details and images for Google’s rumored Android TV-based streaming device and the product – codenamed “Sabrina” – could be better positioned to compete with the biggest streaming device makers. The potential successor to Chromecast Ultra, which might be sold under Google’s Nest brand name, may include improvements like the Android TV platform and a dedicated voice remote.

If Google can capture more of the streaming device market, it can grow its platform user base and potentially grab more of the ad budgets flowing to connected TVs.