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August 22, 2006

New Viacom and MTV video ads from AdSense

Just a few weeks after the announcement that Viacom & MTV would be partnering on a deal with Google to display videos through the Google AdSense program, the videos have begun displaying on publisher sites.

The ads, similar in appearance to other AdSense video ads, are displaying content from Comedy Central, MTV, MTV2, The N, and Nickelodeon channels. The clips are a few minutes in length each. They are implemented through a separate javascript, not the usual AdSense javascript, and will be run by about 200 publishers on a variety of sites. Stats will be available through the publisher account on these streaming ads as well, in the referrals tab, even though it utilizes a different javascript. What is interesting is that this will only be run for four weeks.

Earnings are on a CPM basis, with each "view" occurring every time an ad - which are placed at intervals within the "show" being watched - within the video is viewed. There are two ad sizes being used for these ads, the 336x280 & 300x250 ad units. They must appear above the fold on the site.

For all the nitty gritty on these ads, here is the FAQ sent to publishers participating in this beta.

What is this?
Google is running an experiment with syndicated video supported by ads, to help publishers and video content owners better monetize their properties. Premium video owners provide Google with their content, Google matches the content with ads, and the site owner presents the combined product to their users.

The content to be displayed through these units is premium.
We're running this pilot to open the door to initiate branding concepts within the Google AdSense advertising model, and you've been handpicked to be one of the few exclusive partners to help launch this program. Advertisers ready to move forward are of the highest caliber, and the value-add of supplying this content is tremendous. If successful, these efforts will become more robust, and the end results will greatly enhance the user experience on your site.

What is the video content?
For the initial test, we will be using channels of video content provided by MTV Networks, such as from their Comedy Central, MTV, MTV2, The N, and Nickelodeon channels. The video content is mostly short-form clips of up to a few minutes in length.

What are the ads?
For the purposes of this test, the video advertisements are provided by MTV Networks; the interstitial ads will be varying lengths (most 30 seconds or less) and shown between segments of the video content. For future syndicated video, Google will be leveraging its network of advertisers to match content to advertisement for syndicated video content.

How much money will I make?
Revenue is generated on a CPM basis, by the number of views on each ad inside the content. For instance, if someone watches the first three minutes of the content, and sees two interstitial ads, you will be paid for those two views. There is no payment unless a user has seen an ad within the content.

For syndicated video, the revenues will be split three ways, between the content owner, Google, and the site owner. For the purposes of this test, Google is not disclosing the three-way revenue split. Please also understand that CPM values and expected payouts at the end of this pilot cannot be disclosed at this time.

How do I add this to my page?
We will send you all necessary code amendments and modifications, which can simply be dropped-in to the source code of your page.

What is the unit size?
The embedded video player is the standard IAB 336x280 & IAB 300x250 size.

Do I have to put this in a certain place on my page?
You can place this unit above the fold (ATF) anywhere on your site, but keep in mind that you should try and optimize its position for playbacks.

How many impressions will I get?
As this is the first experiment of this type, we are not making projections of impressions or views. This video content, however, is only available to certain sites, so there is an element of exclusivity that your users may find attractive, and may help you get new visitors.

What if I'd like to display this Flash player on the sub domain (subdomain.root.com) of a pilot approved website?
Please respond to this email and let us know if this applies to your site.

Are we guaranteed to make at least as much as our ads would?For the purposes of this test, we are not making revenue guarantees or predictions. This is a new concept in Google advertising history and we have worked hard with our advertisers to secure inventory for this premium channel. Our expectation is that monetization will only improve as this channel, concept, and project becomes more built out, but until then, we're in full beta with this pilot. As such, your patience and collaboration is of extreme value to us.

Will ads be served through AdSense or will I have to implement another type of code?
Ads will be served through special video player code provided for the purposes of this test, though publishers will be paid through their AdSense account.

Will Google serve the highest paying ad/content or is this a fixed unit?
This is a fixed unit, serving only the MTV preferred channel content selected for your site. There is no auction of content for the purposes of this test.

Can viewers skip ad and content display? Do publishers still get paid if viewers skip ad display?
Yes, viewers can skip both content and ad display. However, users must begin to watch interstitial ads to qualify an ad event/impression.

How often does the video content refresh/change?
Content will likely change every three to seven days.

Will this player/content slow down my site?
No. As with Click-to-Play Video Ads, the video in this ad unit will not start buffering unless the user clicks on the play button. Publishers should not see any effect on site performance.

Do I have to reinsert the code when it changes?
No. By adding the video unit to your page, the content will automatically update without your changing the code on your site.

Can I have more than one unit on my page?
No, you can only have one of these video units per page.

Will the video unit be click-to-play, or initiated upon page view?
The video unit will be click-to-play, meaning initiated by the user, NOT upon page view.

Will there be alternate ad capability with these video units?
No. Since these video units are not standard ad units, you will only have the ability to serve this content through this pilot's unit.

Is there a separate legal agreement or will Google just serve through AdSense with the standard AdSense T&Cs?
AdSense Online Standard Terms and Conditions apply to this pilot.

How long is the pilot?
The pilot will span four weeks; we will provide pilot exit information prior to its completion.

Posted by Jenstar at August 22, 2006 06:44 AM


Wow, what a surprise, Google refuses to announce the "split" between publishers, video owners, and Google itself.

That's been google's stance all along- never reveal the split. Hell, its even against their TOS for publishers or advertisers to reveal their OWN cut of the split, because then they could work out what Google's cut is?

Here's a hint, folks. Notice how at the end of each financial quarter right before google has to report earnings, and YOUR income from adsense drops through the floor? It's not a coincidence.

BTW- google's adsense is the only product on planet earth where people enter into a contract to sell something and the buyer (google) gets to set the price AFTER THE SALE IS MADE.

and people still think google isnt a monopoly? no other company on the face of the earth gets to decide how much they will pay for something AFTER THEY ALREADY TAKE POSSESSION OF THE ITEM.

None. I dare anyone to name a single business that is run like this. Google is a supreme monopoly, the likes of which the world has never seen.

Posted by: me at August 22, 2006 01:19 PM

Historically the point of TV syndication is to originally provide coverage of a target not served by mainstream. It is ironic that something as mainstream as Google has to rely on a syndication model, rather than an affiliate model. I feel that there is probably a more targeted, intrusive and compelling way to get actual viewership rather than just AdSense placement.

The only apparent weakness in the Google model was the focus on search results and not search usage. AdSense seems to have addressed that issue, and now inserted video instead of just HTML.

It is my hope that the user generated experience will prevail, as there is sure to be a fight between the little guys and the large media companies who seek to dominate the web landscape as they have the broadcast and cable landscape.

Posted by: Matthew Maginley at August 23, 2006 06:49 AM