Facebook has launched a new premium video advertising program that it says will enable upfront media buyers to secure ad spots for an entire season in advance.

Called Facebook Showcase, the program extends ad buying from a quarterly basis and, Facebook claims, will help advertisers reach key target audiences, such as younger viewers who are increasingly difficult to reach on TV.

“Showcase gives online video and TV ad buyers participating in the upfront selling cycle new opportunities to reach their target audiences within the highest-quality videos on Facebook,” the company said in a blog post.

For the moment, Showcase is available only for advertisers targeting US audiences and they will be able to access three types of video promotion – In-Stream Reserve, In-Stream Reserve Categories and Sponsorships.

Facebook reported that nearly 100 million people in the US watch In-Stream Reserve content on Watch or within their News Feed and on Pages each month.

And it also said that, over the past three months, 43% of people in the US who watched In-Stream Reserve eligible content on Facebook were 18-34 years old, compared to 28% of TV viewers over the same period.

Meanwhile, In-Stream Reserve Categories provide all the features of In-Stream Reserve, but enable advertisers to target viewers within particular categories, such as sports or fashion and beauty. Sponsorships, as the name implies, allow advertisers to be the exclusive sponsor of a program for US viewers.

Commenting on the development, Caitlin Kennedy, associate media director at Periscope, told Adweek: “Offering deals with an upfront-like approach is smart on Facebook’s behalf because so many of the biggest brands’ planning cycles are aligned to making that annual upfront commitment.

“And as more brands get used to the concept of video and not just TV, it’s the perfect time to introduce a new channel for consideration, so long as they’re trying to reach that younger, aloof cord cutter.”

Sourced from Facebook, Adweek; additional content by WARC staff