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YouTube and YouTube TV Usage on Connected TV Devices Jumped 20% in 2020

Jeff Kotuby

No longer are YouTube and YouTube TV viewers simply staring at their phone or mobile device screens — now they’re staring at their TV screens, too.

A new blog post put out by YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan revealed changing trends in the way people view their platform. While the most abundant way of viewing is still on mobile devices, “our fastest growing viewing experience is on the TV screen,” Mohan said.

According to data provided by YouTube, 120 million people streamed YouTube or YouTube TV on their TV screens. That’s up from 100 million in March of 2020, Mohan told CNBC.

He says a new generation of viewers chooses to watch YouTube primarily on the TV screen. In fact, over 25% of YouTube users watched “almost exclusively on the TV screen.”

Watch time on TV screens showed large jumps across various content categories, with music, cooking, “humor,” travel, and educational content all seeing rises in viewership on TV screens — and even seeping into primetime viewing habits.

“Viewers are leaving behind traditional primetime, and we’re finding at YouTube that the new primetime is personal,” Mohan said. “People want the freedom to stream anything whenever they want, whether it’s a favorite movie, a hard-to-find music performance, a premiere sports event, or even a tough workout.” Mohan also says that 41 percent of all ad-supported streaming watch time in the U.S. happens on YouTube, citing numbers provided by Comscore.

American fans of YouTube proper will be thrilled to know that YouTube “Shorts” are coming to the TV platform in a beta capacity. The longtime feature, reminiscent of TikTok’s 60-seconds-or-less video style, was wildly popular during its India beta period, and is coming to the U.S. in the next few weeks.

Since the beginning of December, the number of Indian channels using Shorts creation tools has more than tripled, according to Mohan. We should continue to see that level of growth in the United States, too.

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