Google are starting to charge for adverts. At first glance it may seem a strange way to generate revenues from video downloads but this is more in the spirit of my last two posts merged together – addiction to content combined with ads we want to see. You see Google Video Beta are starting to categorise videos – they have the global cats of popular, google picks, random, animation, comedy, educational, movies, music videos, sports, news, tv shows and wait for it, commercials.

Those scheduled TV commercials of the last 50 years of that box pumping visual and audio candy are imprinted into many of the current living’s subconcious. Our heads are full of 30 second messages that we have been bombarded with over many years and as mentioned in my new wave of addiction post, some of these have reminiscent qualities – so much so that Google think we will want to pay for some of the best. As Jason Millar writes in a WebProNews article...

But if you want to see Morris the Cat. It’ll run you a buck. If you want to see Lauren Hutton hock Dial Soap, that’s another dollar. Or how do you feel about a black-and-white 3 Musketeers spot? The commercials appear to be licensed through the Historic Films Archive.
Now it is totally understandable that the company that owns the rights to these ads charge a fee to use the clips for a televised program or some other enterprise usage. But I ain’t paying to see Morris the Cat again, especially if 9Lives Cat Food is still around. In fact, they should be paying Historic Films Archive or Google any time somebody views the promo.

OK as I often say an ad channel that is categorised so you can search for things that are relevant to you or even better, laid out by ai agents in front of you based on your profile, means that the model of ad distributors paying for each viewing in an on-demand world can exist. But Google are doing something very different, preying on our addictions. This could be a phenomenal strategy. All those ads (read short form stories) that we grew up with, sitting on our personal digital recorders so we can share with those of a certain generation – “remember this one!”. If you go to the commercial for sale area you will see a mix of day-pass and buy models. Most of the commercials strike me as historical archive material that can be used by sociology academics to show how wonderfully nieve we all were in the 50s and 60s but I think many ‘mashers’ and ‘video dj’s’ will find some great content to dice and slice into their next techno display.

For the moment buying ads may be limited to those unique, quirky, retro moments in our lives – if our lives are defined by the ads we watched as kids or older then Google do have a model here. I wonder how long it will be of course before an ad has such a compelling story line that after a few showings on the receeding commercial free to air TV channels we will actually ‘buy’ final installments – just to see if the boy got the girl, if the laundry really did come out as clean as they said or even finally finding out how many cat owners really prefer whiskas? I would rather see more interactive offerings where an ad after its initial call-to-action becomes something we can ‘play’ with as well, mini games, venture deeper and travel on a rich user journeys around devices and platforms. Even more importantly advertisers are missing a trick of getting audiences to participate, both in location and submitting content, but all this is another story. For the moment expect to see linear episodes – I think in two years time I will be writing about those old ‘download ad’ models fading as every ‘message’ has a cross-media pathway and whether mobile, in the home or shared event we can partake and become part of that message.
Posted by Gary Hayes ©2005