Amazon stalking YouTube?


Perhaps the timing is just a coincidence. But it seems at least worth noting that YouTube seems to be making moves to clean up some messes at YouTube just as Amazon is making moves to ramp up its online video advertising business.

Amazon on Wednesday announced a deal with video ad technology provider FreeWheel to integrate advertising into the growing amount of video content appearing on Amazon’s sites.

From the press release:

Visitors to can enjoy a growing selection of game trailers, movie trailers, how-to videos, and other endemic video content across several product categories. These short videos are surfaced in relevant search results, giving customers the opportunity to view and learn more about products that interest them.

Consistent with its focus on creating advertising experiences that help customers find, discover and buy, Amazon is working with FreeWheel to integrate relevant brands and e-commerce advertising experiences within this video content. Video Game trailers may include a “Shop Now” button, so that customers can go to that title’s page on Amazon with a single click. Movie trailers may include a short pre-roll advertisement that helps customers discover new products.

FreeWheel has also been working with Amazon to serve video ads into a selection of TV show episodes on the Kindle Fire, Lisa Utzschneider, VP of Global Advertising Sales for Amazon Media Group told Re/Code. According to Utzschneider, Amazon worked out deals with television networks last year to stream the first episode of hundreds of TV shows for free on the latest models of the Kindle Fire tablet.

Amazon’s potential to be a major player in the online advertising business has long been obvious. Even more than Google, it has detailed purchase histories on millions of users and knows precisely what products they’re in the market for. Up to now, though, it has taken a very cautious approach to developing that potential. The deal with FreeWheel, however, signals real ambitions on Amazon’s part.  In addition to providing an ad management and monetization platform, FreeWheel operates a private market for premium video inventory and counts ABC, AOL, DirectTV, ESPN, NBC Universal, Sky, Turner, and Viacom among its clients.

Given the potential of an Amazon/FreeWheel video partnership, I could certainly understand if Google suddenly felt a need to make sure everything is as buttoned up as possible at YouTube.


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