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Google AdSense Broadcasts Itself

Don't look now, but the competition between Google and traditional television media isn't just talk anymore. It's on. In a statement e-mailed to InternetNews.com, the company said it is now offering ad-supported embedded video units to AdSense publishers.

The announcement pits Google against traditional media companies, such as NBC Universal, News Corp. Web Video, and the Disney-ABC Television Group, as ad-supported video crosses over from television to the Internet.

Google's new video units, which are based on a combination of the video content and the publisher's site content, will feature video from YouTube content partners TV Guide Broadband, Expert Village, Mondo Media, lonelygirl15, Extreme Elements and Ford Models be based on video content, as well as the publisher's site content.

Google said publishers can choose categories of video to target, select content from YouTube partners, or have video automatically targeted to their site's content.

Content publishers can also choose among a number of different video unit styles. They all include a video screen and player controls and display banner ads at the top, as well as text ads that pop up at the bottom of the video. Advertisers are charged on a cost-per-click or cost-per-impressions basis.

Per Google's video-advertising philosophy, the video units will only play after a user has clicked to play them. That way, Google can see how many times certain videos play compared to how many times they could have played. Google will also be able to tell how much of an ad users watch.

It's important for Google to know if users only watch a 30-second video for five seconds on average, because it's a pretty good hint that maybe another video would turn up more impressions.

YouTube content is not the first to be distributed through Google's AdSense network.

That honor ironically goes to Viacom, which sued Google for copyright infringement in March but signed a deal with Google to distribute MTV content in August 2006.

That deal is dead now, but today's new content partners will join Seth MacFarlane, creator of animated hits Family Guy and American Dad!, as well as Raven-Symone of Disney's "That's So Raven."

There are similarities between the way Google is distributing ad-supported video across the Internet and how traditional media plan to.

NBC Universal President and CEO Jeff Zucker and News Corp. CEO Peter Chernin said their Web Video venture Hulu, which will enter public beta later this month, will offer an ad-supported embedded video player to publishers small and large rather than create a YouTube-like destination site.

When Chernin and Zucker announced Hulu in March, they said it will primarily feature produced content, similar to the professional videos from the YouTube partners included in Google's video unit announcement.

And last month, Disney-ABC Television Group announced it will broadcast full-length episodes through an embedded broadband player, co-branded "ABC.com on AOL," alongside the local ABC affiliate's station ID on AOL video.

Google said the new video units are available now in the U.S. for English language Web sites and that more content is on the way.