Launched in December, YouTube had attracted 9 million unique visitors by February, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, viewing 40 million clips.
"It's moved from a personal video-sharing network to a video-entertainment destination," says Ms. Supan, 33.
How does Ms. Supan plan to make an ad model work on a site dedicated to the have-it-your-way mentality?
She already is.
YouTube has about a dozen relationships with media and marketers like Nike, MTV and Dimension Films, and has run shorts from these companies mixed in with the offerings from consumers. Make no mistake-these are advertising deals. And they are wildly successful.
A trailer for Dimension's "Scary Movie 4" netted 1.2 million views and almost 1,000 comments from viewers. "One million is enough to move the needle on awareness for this film," says Ian Schafer, CEO of Dimension Films' interactive agency, Deep Focus.
Ms. Supan, who previously built the digital practice of Zeno Group, called the trailers "more content than ads." Next, she will add banners and video prerolls, video ads that must be viewed before a user is able to access video content. Users will accept the ads because they realize YouTube is a business, she says, and the "contact us" button that is heavily utilized now will remain prominent.
Meanwhile, media companies like Fox Broadcasting Co., seed material on YouTube. The "Real Simpsons" clip, which showed humans impersonating the hit Fox animation sitcom, has been viewed 4.5 million times and aired during the TV show to 10.1 million viewers.
The "Saturday Night Live" debacle reveals the power of YouTube. A sketch from NBC's "Saturday Night Live" called "Lazy Sunday" was uploaded to YouTube in December, but it took NBC two months to notice and demand the clip be removed. By February, "Sunday," which features Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg rapping, had been viewed by 6 million and imitated repeatedly.
Selected for: YouTube
* Proving invaluable to virally promote movies such as "Scary Movie 4."
* Perfect storm of popularity boosted by buzz.