Last night, Google rolled out the red carpet for its most famous YouTubers at the opening of its 2016 NewFronts Brandcast. The entrance to the event was lined with screaming fans waiting to take selfies with their favorite YouTube personalities, including Tyler Oakley and Lilly Singh, who served as the show’s emcee.
Hosted at the Javits Center, this year’s Brandcast event started with CEO Susan Wojcicki listing all of YouTube’s accomplishments during the last year. The CEO said that on mobile alone, the site now reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any broadcast or cable network.
“We reach more 18- to 49-year-olds during prime time than the top 10 TV shows combined,” said Wojcicki, claiming brands that choose to advertise on YouTube versus prime time broadcast could reach 56 percent more of the designated age group.
The CEO also said that the number of hours people spend watching YouTube on TV screens more than doubled year over year in the last quarter of 2015. She also referenced a report from “Variety” that showed that among US teens, eight of the 10 most popular celebrities were YouTube stars.
Superwoman creator Lilly Singh, the force behind Unicorn Island, with more than 8.6 million YouTube subscribers, took the stage following Wojcicki to host the show. The first celebrity Singh brought out was Sesame Street’s Big Bird to announce Sesame Studios, a new educational YouTube channel from the creators of Sesame Street.
According to YouTube, Sesame Studios will showcase new characters and feature YouTube stars in original programming on YouTube Kids.
In addition to the new Sesame Street-inspired programming, YouTube announced its new Breakout Video ad package, a Google Preferred ad product that will be sold programmatically via DoubleClick. YouTube says the Breakout Video ad packages will put brands “front and center” of the “hottest and fastest-rising” videos on YouTube.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also took the stage to announce a deal that will make all of the NBA’s footage available on the Google Preferred ad network.
“We’re incredibly excited about this deal, and we think it’s going to be a great way for us to partner with all of your brands,” said Silver.
Other people to take the stage included Nigel Morris, the CEO of Dentsu Aegis, and Jack Hollis, group vice president of marketing for Toyota. While Morris’ comments were overshadowed by a false fire alarm that caused a slight stir in the event hall, Hollis confirmed that Toyota’s investment in the Google Preferred ad network increased 400 percent in the last year.
Other appearances included a song from Andra Day, along with Silento and a group of dancers performing his “Watch me (Whip/Nae Nae)” which was the top-trending video of 2015. Before the final performance of the night, a concert by Sia, attendees were offered a selection of food and drinks from some of YouTube’s most popular chefs.