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Step Aside, Creators. Brands Are Taking Over YouTube

40 billion views for the top 100 companies

A study released by video marketing firm Pixability shows that YouTube's channels count 73 million subscribers.

The digital video world will converge on Anaheim, Calif., this week for the sixth annual VidCon, a three-day extravaganza that's grown from 1,400 YouTubers and their rabid fans, to 20,000 strong, with top-tier creators from Vine, Vimeo, Tumblr and Meerkat, just to name a few. Some of the biggest brands on the planet will also be in attendance.

It's no wonder. While about 90 percent of video viewing is still on TV, according to Nielsen, 18- to 34-year-olds—a demographic coveted by advertisers—are increasingly cutting the cord.

"It takes a very different media mix today to reach that audience than it did 10 years ago," explained Jenny Schauer, media director at Digitas. She believes YouTube, and increasingly Facebook, are uniquely positioned to reap the rewards of brand videos. "Taking content from a brand and putting it right in front of consumers in the News Feed, that's where Facebook is really strong."

Meanwhile, at VidCon, YouTube will take its own well-deserved victory lap. An exhaustive study released today by video marketing firm Pixability digs into viewability, reach and growth of the top 100 global brands as determined by Interbrand (see above chart for the top five brands on YouTube and the top 100 global brands online). The veritable treasure trove of data is a marketer's dream: YouTube's channels count 73 million subscribers, with subscribership up 47 percent year over year.

"We hit a turning point last year," said Tara Walpert Levy, managing director of agency solutions at YouTube parent Google. "What drove it home is the viewership piece—how much viewers are embracing brand content, and the sheer volume of it."

Branded content videos from the top 100 boast 90 million likes and 8.9 million dislikes—a win for both brands and YouTube.

"It has an unparalleled ability to reach a variety of demographics," said Dionne Colvin-Lovely, director of traditional and new media, Toyota Motor Sales USA, which rings in at No. 8 on the top 100 brands list. "YouTube allows our brand's message to break through, and it offers great metrics to see if the content is resonating with the intended audience."

This story first appeared in the July 20 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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