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Google Premium Video Offers Free Test

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Google Premium Video Offers Free Test

Google Premium Video Offers Free Test

In an experment on selected (not all) premium video content, Google Video is offering users the ability to watch that content, which would otherwise cost from $1.99 to $14.99 without having to pay. An advertiser banner appears at the top of the screen for the duration of the stream/show. (See example.)

If they are inclined, users can then click on the banner and watch what amounts to a TV commercial, while the content they were watching on Google Video is paused until they return. Involved content producers get a cut of the negotiated price (don’t recall if it’s PPC only or a hybrid PPC/CPM formula; my guess is the latter).

This test currently involves approximately five advertisers (who were specifically matched with content providers) and does not include any of the user-generated content on the site — addressing a persistent objection and concern of mainstream marketers.

Quick thoughts:

* This is partly a response to the fact that users aren’t watching the paid streams in anywhere near the volume as the free streams on Google Video
* Google says this is also a response to advertiser demand
* Generally it’s a good move for Google to broaden Google Video’s overall appeal at a time of intensifying competition
* This starts to turn Google into something like an on-demand TV network with traditional, TV-style ads. How will Google navigate these waters with traditional TV content producers? This may be challenging if the program is permanently adopted and broadens
* If the program does go on, it offers potentially very targeted TV advertising opportunities, as with “click to play,” for marketers
* Will users click on/watch the ads? My guess is that they will when they have a choice

CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX meet Yahoo, Google, AOL, YouTube. And with the ability to deliver Internet content to TVs gaining momentum, might Comcast start to be concerned? That’s still a long way off but the TV/video landscape is getting more complex and interesting almost by the week.

Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm focused on online consumer and advertiser behavior and the relationship between the Internet and traditional media, with an emphasis on the local marketplace.

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