YouTube, Video Sites Become Branding Platform For Hearst, Mountain Dew

YouTube continues to push the site as a branding tool for companies from publishers to consumer product goods in the heat of budding competition from social sites, such as YouToo, which has already inked several deals with cable network operators to put viewer videos on the real tube.

Hearst Magazines plans to introduce two new YouTube channels as part of an original channel initiative. The channels, set to launch in 2012, highlights content from Car and Driver, Road & Track, and Popular Mechanics for automotive; and Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Seventeen and Realbeauty.com for fashion.

Hearst supports sophisticated production capabilities, including a state-of-the-art digital video and production facility. The publisher holds a stake in Mark Burnett Productions, whose founder recently agreed to curate content for the video social network called YouToo with ties to several cable television networks. Burnett's production studio paired up with YouToo TV entrepreneur Chris Wyatt to launch YouToo.

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At YouToo, dubbed the first social TV network, users log on to the site to make and upload short, 15-second video clipsand submit them for possible inclusion during specific on-air TV shows. It has attracted big cable networks, such as Comcast, as well as content creators, directors and producers like Christopher Coppola.

Coppola told MediaPost that the site invites viewers to make the videos that will air during breaks. The show is produced by Burnett and hosted by a variety of well-known stars. A filtering system deletes profanity and nudity. The goal is to bridge the gap with social to make TV more interactive.

As for Hearst, Car and Driver Television--Driven to Extremes--will feature programming geared toward automotive competitions, car makeovers and a show that highlights major car news.

Aside from large publishers, major brands such as Mountain Dew have begun seeking independent videographers to connect with consumers by targeting messaging and branding products.

After seeing the video about bikes in the air, Mountain Dew contacted creative video producer Devin Graham, to shoot a television commercial after viewing a YouTube video that attracted about 3.5 million unique viewers. "Companies from small to large have begun to recognize they can use YouTube to hit a much bigger audience to get their brands out there," he said.

Graham, who started by producing videos for fun, realized a couple of years ago after doing a series of videos for Orabrush, a 15-person company that now distributes tongue cleaners through Wal-Mart, Target and other big box retailers, that video would become the future for online branding.

Not only video clips get the message across to consumers, but video ads, too.

On Monday, Google began working with publishers to expand YouTube's TrueView video ads across the Google Display Network running in-stream ads within their own video content. Advertisers pay for views over 30 seconds rather than impressions served. The platform supports several types of ad formats.

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