VideoEgg SNIPES At YouTube: Who Thunk It First? Maybe Old TV Guys

[qi:032] YouTube last night said it’s offering a new kind of embedded in-video advertising that’s going to help its parent company, Google (GOOG), and its media partners make money off what has thus far been a fallow field — online video.

YouTube’s in-video advertising techniques have resulted in many pointing out that VideoEgg, a San Francisco-based startup that goes through identity changes more often The Talented Mr. Ripley has already offered these kinds of ads. (It’s a Facebook-ad network now!)

VideoEgg is “welcoming” YouTube to the party, pointing out that Google’s YouTube is imitating them. That’s nothing new, however. The text-links-as-ads were someone else’s idea, too, but Google ended up making billions off of it. Nevertheless, it is interesting to point out that the source of inspiration for the in-video ads of both VideoEgg and YouTube is actually a business they are both trying to take to the cleaners: broadcast and cable television.

If you watch baseball games on Fox or some of the cable networks like TBS, they use a technique (known as “snipes” in broadcast lingo) in which a promotional ad is overlaid on top of the regular broadcast stream. GE Co. (GE), parent of NBC, has a patent (United States Patent 20070143786) that talks about advertising based on this methodology.

A technique is provided for advertising. The technique includes a combining of two or more video streams to form a unified video stream and broadcasting the unified video stream. At least one of the two or more video streams is a program content stream comprising program content that is filmed by a camera and at least one of the two or more video streams is an advertisement material stream comprising advertisement material.

Does this patent apply to Internet video? I am not sure, but if it does – oh boy, have we got trouble. Wired News’ Epicenter blog also points to patents filed by VideoEgg. Interestingly, this whole issue might end up becoming a patent nightmare.


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