The YouTube Revolt: A Pivotal Moment for Premium Publishers

Two weeks ago when several of the country’s largest advertisers pulled their budgets from YouTube due to being placed next to offensive content, it signaled a major turning point in the advertising industry.

It’s no secret that for the past several years, Facebook and Google have been getting infinitely more powerful thanks to the countless publishers who both resent them and desperately need them. So, when big budget brands like P&G, Verizon and AT&T decided to take a stand and demand that higher standards be put in place, one of my first thoughts (and probably yours, too) was: those ad dollars have to go somewhere.

Well, if brands are loudly stating they want higher quality content, more control and transparency, and prioritization of their needs as paying customers, I know who can deliver: premium publishers. Many of these websites have made these exact selling points the cornerstones of their businesses for decades. Some have been doing it since the days of print.

Now is their time to step in and leverage this disruption or miss an enormous opportunity. By banding together (which some publishers are already doing), they have enormous scale to offer, among other obvious assets, and since nothing breeds innovation like disruption, now’s the time to get creative with new solutions that prove publishers’ value.

It’s likely Google will turn this situation around quicker than we think (they’re already fast at work creating new brand safety tools), but regardless of how long this window of opportunity is open, the point is that it is open, and premium publishers should see this as an unexpected moment to remind brands of their value, strength and relevance.

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