YouTube: and now the monetisation begins

22 08 2007

The long march toward Google attempting to monetise YouTube commences today, as the company unveils its contextual advertising strategy for clips on the site.

YouTube has shunned pre-roll ads, used by many of its competitors on broadcast and portal sites, electing instead for animated, transluscent overlays across the bottom of its video player console.

Ads appear 15 seconds after a clip has started playing, inviting viewers to click on the overlay. If clicked the original content pauses and the ad begins playing in the video console, if not the overlay disappears after 10 seconds (presumably to be replaced by another).

Reports range from 20 to 50 charter advertisers signed up for the launch of the new InVideo service, including BMW and NewLine Cinema. The rate card for InVision ads starts at US $20 per 1,000 times the ad is displayed

But Google doesn’t see it as a panacea, as Eileen Naughton, its director of media platforms told Reuters:  “In the history of Google, there has never been one ‘answer’. It’s not the end-all, but it’s a very promising format that we are ready to bring to the market.”

It’s less of a surprise that most ads will be paired with professionally-produced content, such as Warner Music Group videos, though Google is dipping its toe in the water of ads wrapped around consumer-generated content.

Now begins the task of Google making its $1.65 billion investment in YouTube pay off (not that it needs to pay the money back to anyone!)

Edit: early reaction to the new ads.





BBC iPlayer and the U.K. ISP bandwidth row

17 08 2007

So a typical download of a TV programme (of unspecified duration) costs U.K. ISPs £0.67 at peak times, according to Jeremy Penston on The Register, a site which has selflessly devoted itself to BBC iPlayer-bashing in recent weeks — given that BAA, the operator of London’s Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports is outside its reporting remit, probably understandable, given it’s silly season.

While the piece offers a more conciliatory slant on the BBC’s position, highlighting the fact that ISPs with unrealistically-tighter margins are feeling the greatest squeeze, it neglects to mention that the recently-beta-launched iPlayer is but a drop in the ocean of online video usage.

YouTube’s figures grow exponentially month-on-month, for every YouTube there are 100s of lookey-likeys, alongside BBC iPlayer there are also dozens of video download services (most of which got to market before); so why is the BBC’s product singularly responsible for all of this greater usage?

While a major marketing campaign to promote the iPlayer once it fully launches is inevitable, together with the halo effect of other services which don’t have access to the kind of on-air time or impact at the BBC’s disposal, just take a look at the chart below, illustrating daily reach over a one month period: the flatline at the bottom is one of the world’s most popular websites (bbc.co.uk; which includes BBC iPlayer), barely registering on the radar. The one at the top is another of the world’s most popular websites 🙂 YouTube…

graph.png

Then there’s the £0.67 figure itself: where does it come from? Regulator Ofcom’s earlier estimates were based on an average user downloading 13 x 40-minute programmes over a typical month. Even at peak times of consumption its estimate was that this would cost no more than £0.50 per hour, per user.

But the clincher is that the average iPlayer user (take as a generic for average user of a video downloads service) would typically cost an ISP £0.24 per hour of usage. That’s tough on operators like Carphone Warehouse and Tiscali, who have chosen to underprice competitors, but perhaps they should be pricing in the exponential growth of other online video, or targeting the offer at market segments which are less likely to reach even average levels of consumption (e.g. research has demonstrated that the 55+ market, an ever-more-active online usage segment, is least likely to warm to the idea of consuming big files, like video downloads).





Bebo becomes U.K.’s favourite social network

17 08 2007

ComScore has released its U.K. internet traffic figures for July, showing visits to Bebo up 63% from the beginning of 2007, making it the most visited social network site in Britain. While Bebo tops last month’s rankings, it’s the growth of rival Facebook which is more astonishing: up 366% from the start of the year.





Online video lures 73 million Americans during July

16 08 2007

Stats from Nielsen//Netratings for July reveal 73 million unique visits from U.S. internet users to online video sites. 75% of the audience visited YouTube, taking 55 million hits, up from 51 million in June.

MySpace had 18 million hits, Google Video 16 million, AOL Video 15 million and Yahoo! Video 14 million.





Paid online video: Google throws in the towel

11 08 2007

Google has conceded failure in its attempts to monetise video downloads and ended its 19-month experiment to offer paid programming, reports the Washington Post.

Google has been offering a range of video on a download-to-rent or download-to-own basis since January 2006, with titles ranging from US $2 to $20 and viewable only through a downloadable player.

Google’s decision to close the retail part of its video site indicates the company had less success selling content than attracting advertising spending, which accounts for 99 percent of revenue, said the New York Times.

“The current change is a reaffirmation of our commitment to building our ad-supported monetization models for video,” Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker said in an e-mail to Bloomberg.

Visitors to Google’s sites watched 1.8 billion clips in May, accounting for 22% of videos viewed in the U.S., according to online measurement firm ComScore. However, the vast majority of these were via YouTube.





YouTube may need to re-brand as SueTube

7 08 2007

First came Viacom’s US $1 billion action against YouTube, then the U.K. Football Association and music publisher Bourne piled in.

Now others including the U.S. National Music Publishers Association, the U.K. Rugby Football League and the Finnish Football League Association have joined the class action.

Rumblings from Japan too, where a consortium of television, music and film companies is saying that the video sharing site isn’t doing enough to counter copyright infringment. This time it hasn’t turned legal, yet, but the criticism adds to a growing clamour that Google is dragging its heels over the introduction of content-fingerprinting technology.





Chinese social networks: business models

4 08 2007

Adding to an earlier post on Chinese video sharing sites, here are some downloadable interviews with Victor Koo, CEO of Youku.com and Gary Wang, CEO of Tudou.com.