YouTube called us to put straight a “myth” it says has emerged during recent coverage of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent – that it doesn’t want to run pre-roll video ads. Times Online last week reported YouTube was not monetising ITV’s Susan Boyle clips because it would offer only text overlays, not the pre-roll ads the broadcaster wants. But YouTube’s UK spokesperson told us on Thursday about the lack of a domestic deal: “It’s wrong to say there’s one big issue – and also wrong to say ad formats is the issue.”
YouTube has historically been retiscent to introduce pre-rolls to the detriment of user experience. In fact, pre-rolls ads are now alive and well on YouTube, the spokesperson said: “We began serving in-stream ads, including pre-rolls, in a test with CBS (NYSE: CBS) in October 2008. It’s no longer true to say it’s not something we do.” Pre-rolls are also used on shows and movies from a variety of partners including Sony (NYSE: SNE) and Lionsgate, recently added in the US.
So broadcasters like ITV (LSE: ITV) can have whatever ad format they like? “It’s based on what the partners want. We’ve been very happy to let that (pre-rolls) go ahead. There’s a lot more flexibility (than has been suggested),” the spokesperson added. ITV wouldn’t even be forced to use YouTube ad inventory: “Partners have the option to sell their own advertising inventory, many can leverage the strength of their own sales forces.”
So what is the sticking point? That’s classified. Perhaps the minimum-views threshold, before an ad pays out, is still a point of contention? And is this a renewed sales pitch to ITV and others? The spokesperson added: “The advertising has to be properly tailored to the content. TV, movies, and other premium content provides a different experience for viewers, and users react differently to advertising in this environment. What works for some videos may not work for others and vice versa.”