YouTube announces plans to revive its advertising

February 15, 2008

News:  Ian Schafer has a recount of what happened at YouTube’s “Videocracy” event yesterday.  YouTube will be enhancing some tech features to make them basically better for advertisers.  The video editing tools will be finally improved — I’ve been complaining about them from the start!  Steve Chen is now big into moving videos onto TV (with his pet project of mobile phones already deployed).

Analysis: These are all interesting developments.  I hope to say more after I see them in action.

Is YouTube a bust for Google on advertising?

February 6, 2008

News: The Wall Street Journal had an excellent article today about how “Social Sites Don’t Deliver Big Ad Gains.” Unfortunately, the entire article is not freely available online. It had a couple paragraphs specifically about YouTube that suggested it was having trouble luring big corporations to advertise on YouTube. The problem is that some corporations may be skittish in advertising alongside videos that are not politically correct or free of controversy. Even CEO of Google Eric Schmidt admitted that things were going slower than expected with the monetization of ads on YouTube.

Analysis: Uh-oh.

YouTube opens doors — halfway — for others to share revenue on YouTube

December 12, 2007

News:  YouTube has finally expanded its revenue-sharing program to allow anyone (who creates videos for YouTube) to apply for a share in the ad revenues.  If approve, you become a “partner” and get some undisclosed amount of money from ad revenue generated by the traffic generated.

To qualify, you must meet 4 criteria:

1.  You create original videos suitable for online streaming.

2.  You own the copyrights and distribution rights for all audio and video content that you upload — no exceptions.

3.  You regularly upload videos that are viewed by thousands of YouTube users.

4.  You live in the United States or Canada.

Analysis:  Number 2 must be a typo.  There’s no way that most video creators will own the copyrights to the music in the user-generated videos.  They could have a nonexclusive license to distribute and perform the copyrighted music.   But that’s quite different from owning the copyrights to the audio. 

Jerry Seinfeld hits YouTube

November 14, 2007

Cool commercial.

Nick Haley makes Apple iPhone ad (w/o permission), but then gets hired by Apple

October 27, 2007

News: NYT and Wired both report about Nick Haley, a UK student who remixed video from Apple — without permission — and made a new ad for the iPhone with music from a Brazilian band, CSS, “Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex.” Even though Haley didn’t get Apple’s permission to use its copyrighted images, Apple like the video so much it asked Haley to make a version for TV, to air tonight during the World Series.

Analysis: This is a fascinating example from a copyright perspective. The guy didn’t have copyright permission, but it turned out what he did was something that the copyright owner (at least one of them) ended up liking. (I don’t know whether the band authorized the use of its song or not.) I’m researching this kind of scenario in our Web 2.0 world and will be writing an article about the phenomenon. I think it has some serious implications for how we should understand the function of copyrights.

YouTube videos + Google Adsense = Video units

October 10, 2007

News: Google went live with its new “Video units”–they are basically video players that you embed on other websites, with ads both at the top of the player and internally at the bottom of the video. If you click on the ad, you will be redirected to the website for the advertiser. It looks something like this:


So far, the videos are limited to certain Partners of YouTube, such as Smosh and Val’s Art Diary. I think the ads come from Google’s advertisers in the AdSense program (either all of them or some subset of them). If you scroll down to the player on this link, you can see a video unit in action.

Analysis: The embeddable video unit is a logical extension of the InVideo ads YouTube experimented with back in March on YouTube’s website. The InVideo ads were on YouTube, the video units will be embedded on other sites. The video units are a little less slick, though, than the InVideo ads, since the units don’t have internal video ads to watch within another video like the InVideo ads–they simply redirect to another website.  (By the way, I can’t find any more of the slick InVideo ads on YouTube. I wonder when they will be deployed again.)

Here’s my biggest question about the video units: are they too big in size to really catch on? I’m having a hard time imagining how a website will fit the video unit on its site. It occupies a lot of space, so you have to devote a good chunk of your site to the video unit. Sure, some sites can easily do so, but other sites probably won’t want to sacrifice so much space to a video unit. YouTube and Google should consider a smaller video unit, kind of like the size of the “vod pod” I have on this site — look on the right hand column.

The video unit could easily fit within a blog post. But the downside of relying on blogs for the Video Units is that the best blogs are constantly changing, so the Video Units will not remain at the top of the webpage (unless constantly used as the lead post).   Moreover, some bloggers might not rely on the Video Units (over the regular embedding of YouTube videos), since you can’t embed every YouTube video within the video unit–only the videos of the few special Partners in the revenue-sharing program. As these video units are deployed, I will follow up with some more reaction.

Google to YouTube-ify video ads for other sites

October 9, 2007

News: Google will announce today an ad program using videos of select YouTube partners on other sites through Google’s existing AdSense program by deploying “video units.” The videos will contain the InVideo ads that scroll on the bottom of the screen for a few seconds. According to the AP, “Google will share the ad revenue generated by the YouTube videos with the content provider and the Web site that shows the clips.” (more) TechCrunch blog has a post. Google has this video.

Analysis: It’s been 1 year since Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion. While YouTube drives a lot of traffic to its site, YouTube hasn’t made much revenue. There’s a lot riding on this ad program and deployment of InVideo ads on YouTube itself. I’m still waiting for a full deployment of the YouTube ads to give my sense on how good it will be.