The first project that was announced by the Pool was identified as setting standards for online video so that it is as easy to buy and plan against as a 30-second TV spot. This is clearly something of interest. The Pool's leadership -- Curt Hecht, president, VivaKi Nerve Center and Tracey Scheppach, senior vice president, video innovation director, Starcom USA. - discussed its direction in a keynote speech at the recent IAB Digital Video forum. Two potential game-changers (PGCs) were mentioned during the keynote. Here they are:
PGC # 1: There are two video ad format contenders, down from a consideration set of 30 -- neither of which is pre-roll. Most online video dollars are being spent on pre-roll placements, largely because of the ease of formatting offline placements and the fact that they have become the de facto publisher standard. The Pool is setting out to come up with something completely different. With data to support the new unit's effectiveness, this could turn the online video market completely upside down. While the executives gave no details in their presentation, two additional clues are that these two formats should be familiar to those in digital media, and that they are specifically designed to support long-form content. Any guesses out there on what they might be?
PGC # 2: No YouTube participation. This might not have been a big deal before last week, when YouTube launched a section of the site for professionally produced TV episodes and films. This is clearly aimed squarely at Hulu. Hulu got there first, but YouTube has a massive audience. If this new section gains traction with advertisers, as Hulu has done, we can be sure that YouTube will be allocating resources toward the best possible monetization strategy and advertising opportunities. And if it doesn't fit with the Pool's recommendation, there will be no Internet version of the 30-second spot. Hulu-level content and YouTube-level scale, combined with Google's technology, cannot be ignored.
Testing of the Pool is scheduled to be finished in October; it's set to be presented to the industry in February 2010. One thing is guaranteed: much can, and will, change by then in our market. This will be very interesting to watch.