As Users Learn to Accept Commercials, YouTube Expands Opportunities for Advertisers to Buy Video Space

May 24, 2011  •  Post A Comment

YouTube is opening the door a little wider for advertisers to buy space to air video on the website, The New York Times reports in its Media Decoder column.

The move comes as users are, perhaps reluctantly, learning to accept the reality of watching commercials before they can get to the videos they want to see.

“In the early days of online video, commercials that appeared before viewers could watch clips, known as preroll, got ‘thumbs down’ from most computer users,” the story says. “That attitude seems to have softened more recently, a change of heart that Web giants have noticed.”

In addition to commercial video space at the top of the YouTube home page, or the masthead, the site is actively selling what it calls First Watch, which lets advertisers buy a preroll spot, typically running before the first video a user opens on a given day.

“If the sponsorship of a commercial on the home page catches computer users when they are going in the YouTube front door, so to speak, First Watch is to intercept them when they are going in the YouTube side door–for instance, if they click on a link to YouTube video that a friend sends, or if they type youtube.com/theonion into their browser rather than youtube.com and then search for videos from The Onion,” the story says.

Baljeet Singh, senior product manager for video monetization for YouTube, said commercials on the home page have been a success, and are starting to sell out. “So we started thinking about how we could extend that offering to advertisers,” he said, which led to the First Watch program.

The goal, Singh said, is to “show an ad on the watch page to users the first time they watch a video.” After that, users should be able to watch videos without a preroll ad.

The story adds: “The First Watch program is to take place only with what YouTube calls partners–suppliers of professional content like The Onion. There will not be preroll commercials when people watch user-generated video clips, Mr. Singh said.

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