YouTube & the Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show

Sunday February 1st, the NFL will host Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona. The media blitz has already begun in anticipation of the game and everything that comes with it. Although the game between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks is an exciting matchup for football fans, much of the general public couldn’t care less about who’s playing. For many, the Super Bowl is more about the always-creative Super Bowl ads as well as the always over the top halftime show. Sponsors such as Pepsi are of course making their big push towards the big game, including this “mini-series” ad featuring actor Craig Robinson:

The Pepsi Super Bowl halftime show this year promises to be just as over the top as many that have come before. Katy Perry headlines the show, with Lenny Kravits as the special guest.

The NFL continues to showcase pop recording artists for the halftime show, including previous performances by Bruno Mars, Beyonce/Destiny’s Child, and the Black Eyed Peas (To name a few). This model continues to be successful for the NFL (at-least in terms of ratings). According to a Reuters article the 2014 halftime show featuring Bruno Mars was viewed by a massive 115.3 million viewers. This surpassed the 111.5 millions who watched the game.

I have often heard the question from people: “Why does the NFL continue to feature pop artists that NFL fans couldn’t care less about?” To put it simply, the NFL doesn’t have to target football fans for the halftime show. They are trying to garner MORE viewership and interest by targeting populations who don’t care about the game, but enjoy recording artists such as Katy Perry. By doing this, not only will the 45-year-old male be watching the game, but his wife and their two teenage kids will also be tuned in.

However, this year the televised halftime show will have to compete with the very first Youtube halftime show. The Google owned media platform will be live streaming their own halftime content, leveraging their homegrown online celebrities such as Epic Meal Time’s Harley Morenstein and gamer Freddie Wong (in addition to many other Youtube “creators”).

For 7 years, Youtube’s Ad Blitz channel has been posting Super Bowl ad teasers as well as the full-length versions once they air during the game. Fans can then vote for their favourites. There are already a handful of teaser ads from brands such as Wix, Bud light, and my favourite thus far Mercedes Benz:

… However probably only football fans will get the joke. According to YouTube, last year fans watched 6.3 million hours worth of Super Bowl ads. Therefore they hope that creating their own content will only boost the viewership of the Ad Blitz channel and create even more value for their advertisers.

The YouTube halftime show will apparently consist of musical performances, stunts (think: someone diving into a pool of cheese), and mock Super Bowl ads. Google believes that, if given the choice, many will decide to watch the (likely entertaining) YouTube halftime show, rather than sit through another bland, overdone performance on television.

Since this show will be live streamed, it will compete directly against Katy Perry and Lenny Kravits. Therefore it will be incredibly interesting to see, after all is said and done, how the numbers pan out. This is especially true in the second-screen-consuming world that we now live in where the NFL will be fighting with other platforms (Twitter, Facebook, etc..) for attention as well.

Times are changing. Who would have thought 10 years ago that there would be a second Super Bowl halftime show competing against the televised version. AND that it would consist of “online celebrities” performing comedy acts and mock-ads. Yes… The sport media world is changing fast, and Google (YouTube) may be uncovering a gold mine for advertising revenue and YouTube celebrity growth.

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