Tuesday, August 22, 2006

YouTube eyes ad money with Paris Hilton channel

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - YouTube, the online sensation that facilitates the viewing of 100 million amateur videos a day, is introducing a couple of new ways for advertisers to tap into the Web site's popularity while preserving its decidedly noncommercial attitude.

Beginning Tuesday, YouTube will roll out its first Brand Channel, where Warner Bros. Records will promote Paris Hilton's debut album, "Paris."
Brand Channels are much like the channels created for all YouTube users who upload their homemade videos to the site, though the purpose of a Brand Channel is to sell a product rather than to simply promote one's ability to attract an audience for their work.
YouTube will help drive traffic to the Brand Channels it sells, and the channels might have sponsors, as is the case with the Paris Hilton Channel, sponsored by Fox's "Prison Break."

The second initiative that officially rolls out Tuesday actually began nine days ago and is a platform that YouTube calls participatory video ads (PVAs).
YouTube co-founder and CEO Chad Hurley said the first PVA was for the Weinstein Co.'s current movie release "Pulse." The PVA appeared as a video commercial on the YouTube home page that users could rate, share and comment on -- in other words, do whatever they do with the usual fare they find on the site. The ads also earn "most viewed," "most discussed" and "top favorite" status just as regular YouTube content does.
The "Pulse" ad was viewed 900,000 times in four days, Hurley said. By comparison, all-time YouTube champ "Evolution of Dance" -- a six-minute video from Judson Laipply, a motivational speaker from Cleveland -- boasts 29 million views.

YouTube is the No. 1 video/movie destination on the Internet, garnering 11 million unique visitors for the week ending August 6, according to Nielsen//NetRatings, more than twice that of No. 2 destination IMDb.com and more than four times that of Netflix.com, which is No. 3 on the list.

All that traffic, however, has yet to translate into profit or meaningful revenue as the site, launched in December, has been mulling ways to incorporate advertising without irritating rabid fans.
Hurley said Brand Channels and PVA are the first attempts with more to come, and he said he has found that advertisers so far are embracing the platforms.
"Our pipeline is filling up very quickly," he said. "This is the beginning of our vision. We want to introduce ads that don't interrupt the experience."

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