On October 10th 2008, Youtube introduced full-length network television shows interpsersed with advertising, right on the heels of pleasing music companies on October 7th by integrating retailers like Amazon and iTunes with click-to-buy buttons.
According to New York Times, Youtube made a deal with CBS (go CBS!) to introduce “Dexter,” “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Star Trek” although I couldn’t find Dexter on CBS’s full episode playlists and I found Mac Gyver.
The video ads you see on television roll before, in-between, and after the TV show. You can’t scroll out the ads; clicking on the video during the ad takes you to the sponsor’s website. Youtube added a Theater View feature that enlarges the video and darkens the rest of the screen. You can still go full screen unlike some network TV web sites.
So, what could the implications of Youtube adding TV shows with ads be?
- More entertainment at office.
- Youtube becomes a stronger competitor to Netflix. (Netflix made a deal with CBS to stream modern shows like Numb3rs and CSI last month link)
- Networks could cast niche shows on Youtube that didn’t make economical sense before.
- Media planning becomes more dynamic; at least in a small pie of broadcast there’s more precise viewer statistics now.
- To be a better creative brand manager, communication strategist, media planner, copy writer, art director, and adfilm director we’d have to be “in the online state of mind”. Expect more actionable spots.
- Your webmaster and your video commercial people must be bffs (for the uninitiated, that’s best friends forever). If someone clicks through the youtube ad to your Web site, they better get the impression that you were expecting them and know where they came from and make them feel comfortable. A link to http://www.domainname.com won’t be enough.
- On the other hand, many brand messages don’t require that you click to go to a Web site. I see many ads I would like to go back to, it is not important to me when I see it, but some other time I think, “Hey I saw an ad for this thing that I’m considering to buy, damn, I don’t quite remember when they said the sale ends; wish I knew.” Here there’s an opportunity for a bookmarking company. Delicious, Reddit, Digg and the ilk should start thinking about helping us out here. Imagine Youtube integrates your favourite bookmarking tool so while you are watching a commercial that is semi-interesting you hit any key on your keyboard and the ad or link is saved without disturbing you. Youtube would please advertisers even more.
- Projecting the future on the basis of Google’s intent with its deal with NBC to sell ads on NBC’s behalf for NBC’s cable channels like MSNBC, Oxygen and the Sci Fi network, you can see that Google will become a stronger player in the video ad sales business. While I don’t think I understand the intricacies enough to suggest that this threatens network companies, I think it’s a good news for producers. If you are a small, independent yet professional producer who believes you can make good content but tired of pitching your shows to TV giants who ask you to “suit it for the masses” then try Youtube with ads. I once worked for a start-up production company in India started by a bunch of inspirational intellectuals capable of content a lot smarter than they were producing for national TV. I think it is imperative that Youtube enables independent producers to insert ads in their content just like Adsense to keep the You in Youtube relevant. I have no doubt Google is thinking about that (and I don’t mean ads in each and every video).
- Are you an ad salesman? Google will probably be hiring hundreds more soon.
- While all that is awesome, the big issue for Google is how they maintain the internet without borders. Most of the comments to the Youtube blog post about the news bicker about the feature available only in the US. Sure, international media rights licensing can be very complicated that doesn’t allow Youtube to open this out to the world. But netizens don’t care about it, why should they, it is the INTERNET stupid.
People, what other implications do you think are possible? Do you agree/disagree with the ones here?