Google’s Big New Content Push: Poptub

Google is making its most serious foray into video production yet, with the new video series Poptub, a sort of Entertainment Tonight for YouTube.

Google’s direct involvement with the creation of the show — which we are frustrated to admit we’ve been trying to ascertain for months now — was revealed in a story in the Hollywood Reporter today.

Poptub is actually a recreation of Yahoo’s cancelled The 9, with the same perky host, Maria Sansone, the same sponsor, Pepsi, and the same production company, New York City-based Embassy Row. However, it’s now meant to be a curator for Google’s sprawling video site, YouTube.

The show, which is co-hosted by Nick Vitale, comes out about three times a day, with short interview segments, hosted video roundups, most-viewed countdowns, and straight-up video compilations. Poptub has actually been posting episodes since Sept. 7, and has been heavily promoted (at least in my experience) via ads on YouTube itself. However, its audience so far is modest, with episodes rarely scoring more than 10,000 views and fewer than 4,000 subscribers. It’s using the smart strategy of riding on the coattails of YouTube stars like HotforWords and Obama Girl, though that hasn’t really paid off yet.

Poptub will have the added boost of being distributed through Google Content Network, the advertising-as-distribution setup that Google refined alongside Seth MacFarlane’s Cartoon Cavalcade of Comedy. GCN, which features video content in advertising units on demographically aligned sites, helped drive Cavalcade to 14 million views in its first three weeks.

Poptub is reportedly committed to 3 billion impressions across GCN and YouTube before the end of the year. Better get cracking!