Being an Internet phenomenon is one thing. Making money is another.
YouTube, the enormously successful amateur video site, has no problem
bringing in the eyeballs, delivering more than 100 million video views a
But bringing advertisers to those viewers, however, is an altogether
different challenge. And that’s where the redoubtable Paris Hilton comes in.
The site brings in ad dollars with banner ads, promotions and
sponsorships, but major advertisers have been reluctant to drop the big bucks, because they have not been able to control the content of the videos.
Case in point: Tuesday morning, a YouTube member uploaded a pornographic
video to the site. While the YouTube staff killed the video within two
hours, it’s the sort of thing that makes advertisers apprehensive.
YouTube hopes to begin changing all that with Hilton.
Combined with Fox Broadcasting, it might be a
YouTube video marriage made in heaven.
The slinky pop star and reality television mainstay is the first performer
to be featured in YouTube’s new brand channel, which debuted Tuesday
“Our vision is to build a new advertising platform that both the community
and advertisers will embrace,” Chad Hurley, CEO and co-founder of YouTube,
said in a statement.
“This new medium requires finding a balance between
traditional online advertising and new creative approaches that engage
consumers in an active way.”
YouTube’s new approach involves creating brand channel partners who will
populate the channel with video content that has a look and feel that is
consistent with its brand imagery.
The privately held company’s first brand channel partner is Warner Bros.,
Hilton’s music label.
Warner Bros., in turn, sold sponsorship of Hilton’s
new music video on the homepage of YouTube to Fox Broadcasting’s Prison
Break television series, which premiered Monday night.
One new CD, one new music video and one television show all promoted in one
package targeted at YouTube’s youthful market.
Uploaded at midnight, more than 150,000 YouTubers had viewed the video as of
“We’re seeing Paris’ video climb to the most viewed, most discussed and
favored lists driving its viral appeal,” Jennifer Nielsen, YouTube’s
marketing manager, wrote in an e-mail to internetnews.com.
Which is exactly what Hurley has in mind to lure advertisers.
“This new medium requires finding a balance between traditional online
advertising and new creative approaches that engage consumers in an active
way,” Hurley said.
“Advertisers now have a highly targeted opportunity for
aligning their brands alongside the entertainment experience people are
enjoying on YouTube.”
David Card, a vice president and senior analyst with JupiterKagan, said
the idea has both merits and drawbacks.
“It’s a good idea. Some [advertisers] will be comfortable with it and some
will not,” Card said.
“Getting some sort of reach is another matter, though.
It’s [YouTube] got a lot of audience, but rather fragmented.”
Card added that some advertisers would be concerned over losing control over
where their material appears since users will link the ads to other sites
and the material will be widely dispersed throughout the Internet.
YouTube plans to combine its new brand channel scheme with its new
participatory video ads (PVA), a user-initiated advertisement that features
the standard YouTube tools: Consumers can rate, share, comment and embed
content they find interesting.
“Rather than interrupt a consumer’s experience, we have created a model
which encourages engagement and participation,” a YouTube statement claims.
According to YouTube, Hilton created a special YouTube introduction of her
new music video using YouTube’s PVA. The video itself is widely available on
The introduction certainly has a YouTube look and feel as a badly lighted
Hilton sits in a chair and tells viewers how exciting it all is.
“YouTube is the hottest community on the Web and that’s where I want to
be…it’s hot, join the experience,” Hilton coos in the video claiming a
prominent position on YouTube’s opening page.
YouTube hopes Hilton and other others will at least warm up advertisers to
“Consumers are increasingly programming their own entertainment and content
experiences,” Hurley said.
“We believe it is important to embrace this
change and have developed new advertising strategies that will help
marketers more effectively connect with consumers.”