Analysts and investors have been badgering Google (NSDQ: GOOG) to find ways to wring more money out of YouTube … Maybe Google’s listening after all. YouTube plans to roll out a self-serve sponsored video platform, and “YouTube Live,” a live Webcast. The moves come on the heels of a slew of content partnerships and a deal to pump out local video ads from Yellowbook.com.
— Self-serve video ads: Tim Armstrong, Google’s president of advertising and commerce, North America, hinted at this during the Citi Investment Research Technology Conference back in September (via Mediapost), and now it’s going live. Advertisers choose keywords or search terms for their videos to run against, set a daily spending budget, and then bid for placement — just like with AdWords. The platform is aimed at making it easy for both small and large advertisers to get campaigns going quickly, and eliminating some of the inefficiencies that had been hampering more rapid adoption. Google offers further details here.
— YouTube Live: YouTube will host its first ever live event — aptly titled “YouTube Live,” on November 22. The show will feature 50 or so entertainers whose clips on the site have garnered more than 2.5 billion views in aggregate, including: music artists like Katy Perry and Will.i.Am, TV personalities like Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman (stars of Discovery’s MythBusters), and Internet sensations like Esmee Denters. Reuters says there are plans to hold follow-up events, though no further details were given.
Even with the new deals, Reuters says some analysts are expecting YouTube to generate only between $200 million and $250 million in revenue this year — or just about one percent of Google’s roughly $20 billion annual take. It’s also paltry in comparison to YouTube’s $1.6 billion price tag — though Google’s top brass continue to maintain that the video network’s value proposition goes far deeper than it’s money-making potential.