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YouTube praises AI transformation at Brandcast

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May 18, 2023

YouTube CEO Neal Mohan. Photo: Kerry Flynn/Axios

YouTube has embraced AI for causing a massive shift in video creation, CEO Neal Mohan said Wednesday as part of Brandcast, the company's annual upfront.

Why it matters: As money floods into generative AI startups, big tech companies like Google have been emphasizing their commitment to the technology.

Driving the news: "As you know, generative AI is at an inflection point. Our teams are already using AI to get your ads in front of the right audiences, to improve measurement or to flip a creative to reach viewers wherever they're watching — from Shorts to the living room," Mohan said.

  • "But this is really just the beginning," he continued. "Simply put, AI will transform the way that we make videos. You can imagine that with just a click of a button, I could change my hair color or change my background and instantly transport myself from the desert to a forest."
  • "Google AI is accelerating creativity and the possibilities extend beyond anything we can imagine today," he said.

Details: Mohan's remarks on AI came just nine minutes into the 80-minute-long presentation, held at David Geffen Hall on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

  • YouTube returned to the topic about 45 minutes later when Sean Downey, president of Americas and global partners at Google, came onstage to discuss examples of successful campaigns on YouTube.
  • "The world is experiencing the next big platform shift with AI, and Google isn't just ready for the AI shift; this shift is powered by our technology and innovations," Downey said. "We use AI to identify the best mix of formats, take your campaign goals from reach to actions."

The big picture: AI-powered ad creation isn't brand-new. But the technology is getting better and has gained prominence as a major talking point among the tech platforms.

  • Meta announced last week a generative AI tool that helps advertisers create Facebook and Instagram ads.
  • Snap plans to test sponsored links in "My AI," its chatbot powered by ChatGPT, the company announced at its NewFront presentation earlier this month.
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