The Wall Street Journal reports tonight on “The Pool,” a group of video-serving web sites and advertisers brought together by Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest. Included in the effort to standardize video ad units are Microsoft (s MSFT), Yahoo (s YHOO), CBS Interactive (s CBS) and Hulu (but not YouTube — it reportedly wasn’t good timing for the biggest video site to participate), along with marketers such as Allstate, Capital One Financial and DineEquity’s Applebee’s.
The group has narrowed some 30 video ad formats to 5, which it is testing with focus groups this week. The two best-performing ad units will be tested on the participating media sites, and afterward, the marketers have agreed to spend some money on the winning ad format. There have been some other efforts on the video ad standardization front, like the IAB approving a group of formats, but people feel there’s more work to be done.
Also, TechCrunch ran an “exclusive” tonight saying YouTube will soon allow big media partners to sell their own ads alongside their content, but the story seemed a bit off to us since we’ve known partners such as NextNewNetworks — hardly “big media,” quite the opposite! — have been doing so for some time now. And as TechCrunch notes, CBS already does this for YouTube uploads of its shows. There must be some truth in there about YouTube expanding the program, but the story seems overblown.