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Ad agencies and broadband sites continue to hold out hope for some secret to unlocking cascades of revenue from online video. So while YouTube tinkers at the margins with various ad formats and programs, Publicis Groupe’s media agency Starcom MediaVest Groupe isn’t waiting for the solution to pop from the minds at Google (NSDQ: GOOG). The WSJ has the details on the Paris-based company’s attempts to gather a team of online media firms to finally figure out what ad features work best for online video.
— Taking the plunge this week: SMG’s online video experiment is called “The Pool.” It has lined up Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), CBS Interactive (NYSE: CBS) and Hulu.com to work with SMG clients on broadband tests. In November, representatives from those companies joined with Allstate and Capital One Financial, among others, to come up with a list of online ad formats. The group started with a list of 30 and whittled it down to five, which will be tested in focus groups this week.
— The search for a standard: Beyond economic issues, video ads have been unable to meet advertisers’ hopes of serving as the online version of TV because broadband is sold and priced differently. One of “The Pool” project’s goals is to provide a single standard that advertisers and sites can manage but Publicis is still in the exploratory stage. Still, having some major players on board could help — if they can come to an agreement.
— The elephant not in the room: Notably missing from the test: YouTube. It’s all the more curious, considering the close partnership between Publicis’ VivaKi media unit and Google. Publicis insists that YouTube wasn’t intentionally left out, contending it was simply a timing issue. Google had no comment.