Google built an empire delivering advertisements across the Internet, and now it plans to distribute content from media companies just as aggressively.
Google is working with Dow Jones & Co., Conde Nast, Sony BMG Music Entertainment and other large content companies to syndicate their video content on other Websites. The videos appear inside Google ad boxes on sites that are relevant to the content of the videos, and advertisements run during or after the content. Google shared the ad revenue with the video provider and with the sites that show the videos.
There are already video ad networks that make similar deals, and NBC Universal is attempting something similar. But the Google experiment could be more widespread since the company already has a vast reach on the Internet.
"Once upon a time, if you had some video content that you wanted to distribute, you could do it on three television stations in the days of the networks, then 100 in the days of cable," said Kim Malone, director of online sales and operations for Google AdSense. "Now, thanks to this program, you can do it on literally millions of channels on the Internet."
On the financial news site StreetInsider.com, for example, videos from The Wall Street Journal, a Dow Jones property, are running within ads on the site. In one, Emily Friedlander, a Wall Street Journa l reporter, narrates a video feature on the TKTS booth in Times Square; Sam Schechner of The Journal speaks about marriage in TV shows, and Jonathan Welsh visits a motorcycle show.
After the three videos, a commercial from Pantene Pro-V, a hair conditioner, appears. In that case, Google shares the ad revenue with StreetInsider.com and Dow Jones.
The videos and the accompanying ads can also be found on articles on YoungMoney.com, AdVersus.com and SeatGuru.com, among other sites. A ski resort show created by LX.TV, a broadband network, is being shown with ads on skiing blogs.
The ads are part of Google's larger initiative to gain traction with consumer goods companies who spend billions on brand advertising. Founded as a text-based search company, Google's early advertisers were smaller companies and advertisers that bought ads to generate direct sales rather than to build brand recognition.
Large brand advertisers still spend the bulk of their money on television advertising, but Google sees potential for them to spend more online through the use of video ads.
But Google's broad plan to bundle media content with ads depends on participation from media companies. On the one hand, Google's network will bring more visibility of their content across the Internet, where attention is fragmented online between thousands of sites. Further, media companies like to be a destination in their own right, so that they can sell ads on their sites.
"We want people to come directly to our site, but that's part of why we're doing this," said Sarah Chubb, president of CondeNet, the digital arm of Conde Nast. "To see if we can find people that we haven't found in other ways."