6% of the views of adult-orientated YouTube content are by 13 to 17 year olds, concludes digital marketing agency AccuraCast.com. This means that when an alcohol commercial has had 10 million views on YouTube, on average 60.000 children under the age of 17 have seen it. Farhad Divecha, MD of AccuraCast said: “YouTube alcohol uploads currently break every social taboo and regulation in the book”.
According to Divecha, research AccuraCast shows that YouTube has lost control of its alcohol related content. In their press release, the marketing agency underlines that access to content is simple and that YouTube is worldwide and largely unrestricted. Because of this underage children are able to watch alcohol promotions that link alcohol to sports and music celebrities and “even banned advertisements that promote alcohol as ‘cool’”.
The press release also mentions that the UK watershed on televised alcohol marketing is meaningless on YouTube and that the few controls that are in place are simple to bypass. Divecha says: “Alcohol brand channels impose age verification boxes but they’re far too easy to fake and if users go to a video directly instead of going to the channel, there’s no age verification process at all.”
According to AccuraCast, YouTube offers free global advertising for alcohol producers. This is particularly attractive at a time when “advertising budgets are being stretched to their limit”.
“Drinks companies can spend a fortune getting 5 million views via traditional media while YouTube can deliver 20 million views for nothing,” adds Divecha. “Banned commercials, which broadcasters or government thought not good enough to air on TV often make their way to YouTube, go viral, and get millions of views.”
Divecha concludes that, “if You Tube continues largely unregulated then alcohol content will increase on a daily basis.”