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YouTube Tries New Homepage Ad Format

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YouTube, in its ongoing attempts to make money and appease Eric Schmidt, today on its homepage is sporting a new sort of ad unit, an expandable HD trailer for the movie Pineapple Express. After clicking, a video of the trailer expands to take up the width of the page. Users can click again to get a full-screen version (actual full-screen, that is) that takes a bit longer to load.

The video quality is excellent in a way that will inevitably make you wonder why the rest of YouTube video looks so crappy. (To be fair, as YouTube co-founder Steve Chen told us at NewTeeVee Live last year, the site’s first priority is to be accessible; and since then YouTube has broadly expanded the option to show a higher-quality version of a video when the original upload supports it.)

The ad’s player isn’t YouTube’s normal one; it is stylized for the movie and doesn’t include standard options like the progressive status bar that lets you move to different parts of the video. It does, however, include options to watch a restricted version of the trailer, play a game and download ringtones.

To our knowledge this is the first time the unit has been used on YouTube, though other video ad providers offer it as well. When asked for comment, a YouTube spokesperson said, “Rich, interactive ads are quickly becoming an important branding tool for advertisers, and we look forward to providing them with new creative opportunities on YouTube.”