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New York, NY - May 2 (name of person) at YouTube #Brandcast at Radio City Music Hall

After decades of dominating the digital ads market, Google wants to be the king of TV. Speaking to Madison Avenue's top brass Thursday, the tech giant unveiled a slate of new programming and ad solutions for buying videos on YouTube.

Yes, but: YouTube has been trying to pitch marketers that its videos are as effective as TV shows for years. But ad buyers have been skeptical, mostly due to the fact there is no great way to measure the effectiveness of the two platforms against each other.

By the numbers: The company says YouTube has 2 billion monthly active users, up about 100 million from this time last year. It says watch time of YouTube on TV now tops 250 million hours per day and that YouTube reaches more people who are between 18-49 than all of cable TV.

The biggest part of YouTube's pitch was that it reaches more young people — people who are very lucrative to advertisers — than TV.

  • It also tried to convince marketers that YouTube is a more personal version of video than cable TV.
  • "Primetime is now personal," said YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. "Our fastest growing screen is the living room one."

Updates: The company is adding more of the content to its "Google Preferred" ad-buying system that allows marketers to buy ads around some of YouTube's more premium content, not random user-generated videos. (YouTube has been the brunt of ad boycotts and bad press due to advertiser concerns about ads running against bad content.)

  • The company is adding its 70 cable and broadcast channels to its Google Preferred program so that buyers can buy live ads, along with on-demand ads, upfront — meaning they can reserve those ad spots long before they air.
  • It touted a slate of original new shows. Singer Alicia Keys came on stage to announce a new show for YouTube called "Unwind" that will debut in August. The company also teased a "secret project" that it's working on with Justin Bieber.

The big picture: Google's ad dominance is rooted in the fact that it controls over 80% of the digital search ad market.

  • But the company reported last week that its revenue growth rate is slowing, which means that it needs to find a new way to make ad money fast.

The bottom line: It's hoping YouTube videos will bring in tons of money, but it needs to convince ad agencies to move their video budgets that are usually reserved for TV over to YouTube. And that's easier said than done.

Our thought bubble: YouTube brought in tons of celebrities and rising stars to tout how great the platform is at discovering talent and luring young users, but it barely addressed the major problems the platform is facing in keeping violent videos, misinformation and conspiracy theories off of its site.

Go deeper

4 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.