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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Morning news: Ads on YouTube ... Warner's new direct-to-dvd division ... `Snakes' analysis

- Lots of coverage today on YouTube's evolving strategy for including advertisers on its site. Here's the LA Times story...Wall Street Journal...NY Times. The bottom line is not that surprising: advertisers now have access to a nice piece of real estate on the upper right hand corner of the YouTube home page, and they can create their own "channels" -- essentially collections of promotional content. The first one advertisers Paris Hilton's new album. (The opening video is well worth watching; apparently Paris can not remember more than one line of dialogue at a time, so there's a cut after each line she utters, presumably so someone can rush onto the set and whisper the next one into her head.)

YouTube is also placing big banner ads at the top of pages, but the site still objects to forcing viewers to watch short "pre-roll" or "post-roll" ads inserted into the videos themselves.

My take on this news: YouTube users don't really care about the division between advertising content and other content on the site, in the same way that TV viewers long understood the delineation between programming and ads (and chose, mostly, to ignore the ads.) On YouTube, the only important distinction is between something that's fun to watch (or something endorsed by a friend) and something that's lame. Lots of advertisers, I predict, will buy time and space from YouTube, only to have users hoot it down.

A related link: GigaOM has a post about why Apple should buy YouTube that is a fun read. I agree that it ain't a bad idea... but I don't think it'll happen, because Steve Jobs doesn't really get the significance of user-generated, grassroots content.

- This seems like a good idea for Warner Bros.: launching a direct-to-DVD business that will crank out 15 movies a year. More movies, and more risk-taking, at lower budgets, is just what the studios need right now. The first release doesn't bode well, though: `Dukes of Hazzard II.'

- Seth Godin has some thoughts about `Snakes on a Plane': even the best marketers need a great product to sell.