The service lets any publisher that is part of Google's AdSense network show video from premium YouTube content creators on its site. Google's system will automatically match video content to the participating websites; it will match the ads contextually as well. All three parties -- the video-content creator, the AdSense publishers and Google -- will share in the revenue.
Advertising in the videos will show up as transparent text-link overlays similar to the recently announced YouTube ad units. The idea, said Christian Oestlien, business product manager at Google, was to keep the ad units in the new AdSense video-distribution plan simple and standardized in order to open up the opportunity to as many advertisers as possible. (Part what has allowed AdSense's advertiser base to grow so large is the creative simplicity of text advertising -- even marketers without big marketing budgets can buy ads.)
YouTube's ad format involves more graphical overlays that can expand to video when clicked, a format that limits the advertising potential to those marketers that have video assets.
For publishers, adding video makes people "more interested, more engaged and more loyal to a website," Mr. Oestlien said. As a publisher, "all I have to do is embed a standard YouTube player on the site, and Google will figure out which videos to show."
Google will also use the dynamic optimization technology it originally developed for advertising to continually "learn" which syndication pairings work best. As new content racks up views, Google will track how much users seem to like it and how much of each video people watch.
'Optimal way to show video'
Google wants to know "what's the optimal way to show video in this particular website," Mr. Oestlien said. "If someone was to offer 10 videos, what would those 10 be and in what order?"
Much of the syndication program has been driven internally by VP-Product Management Susan Wojcicki. Google ran its first test with Viacom in summer 2006 (that was before Viacom decided to sue Google, alleging that YouTube violated its copyrights). Google ran a second test earlier this year and settled on the idea of standardizing the ad format and auto-targeting the content.
The program launches today in U.S. and over the next several quarters will roll out in other countries where YouTube is available.