YouTube is to run a trial of "pre-roll" video ads on selected content from several broadcasters starting from today. The pre-roll ads are short video ads shown before the video you requested and could be up to 30 seconds long. Advertisements will start appearing around videos from BBC Worldwide, ITN, Discovery, National Geographic and - from today - Channel 4.
The idea for this form of advertising was first discussed over 2 years ago, back in 2007, so it has taken a while for the plans to come to fruition. These ads will be sold on a CPM (cost per mille) basis where the advertiser pays a certain price for every one thousand views of an ad. Whilst YouTube recommends a length of around 15 seconds for the advertisements, the advertisers will have a maximum of 30 seconds to use.
Activision, Renault, Match.com, Nissan and Warner Brothers will be some of the first to utilise the new test scheme, with an ad for Warner Brothers' new film The Hangover to be the first pre-roll ad, according to The Guardian. The overall aim of the scheme seems to be to get more high-end content providers to upload videos to YouTube, encouraging them with the incentive of the opportunity for more revenue.
Suveer Kothari, the head of YouTube UK, said: "Since we launched YouTube we have been trying to balance the demands of users looking for free, entertaining, professional content on the web, premium content owners looking for ways to monetise their content and advertisers looking for more premium content for them to showcase their TV creative against." Errol Baran, the head of future and digital media advertising at Channel 4 - who are the first content provider to show the ads - added, "[a]udience appetite for video-on-demand continues to demonstrate the shifting patterns of video consumption," showing that broadcasters must adapt to the changing viewing habits of consumers.