Have you ever marveled at the modern world in which you live, here in 2007? Doesn't it seem like we've finally ARRIVED at the final frontier?? I mean, just look at all of the crazy, never-in-a-million-years, future shit that we've all got jammed into our houses, cars, and pockets: robot-vacuums, iPhones, LCD flatscreen televisions, navigation systems that tell us where to go, tiny MP3 players, Coke Zero... fucking ROBOT VACCUUMS, man!
Seriously. Okay, so maybe we're not hanging out in that sweet Minority Report future yet, but I'd say that we're definitely at least hanging out in Doc Brown's Hill Valley circa 2015 right about now... well, minus the flying cars part.
But have you noticed that, in just about EVERY future-fantasy designer's cinematic vision of tomorrow, one of the most telltale future-y things about the place is ALWAYS the curious over-abundance of interactive advertising? Whether it be hologram movie posters of the 19th Jaws Movie biting poor Marty McFly's head off or an on-the-lamb Tom Cruise being confronted with ironic American Express ads reading "It looks like you could use an escape, and Blue can take you there," the nightmare of encroaching capitalism seems to be a recurring and terrifying theme.
So what do you say? Don't think that we're quite there yet? Well, let me just say this to you, buddy: Where we're going, we don't need... roads.
That's right! The whacky/scary future is upon us. Fine internet video purveyor/international time-waster extraordinaire YouTube proved once and for all last week that you apparently can squeeze blood from a turnip if you just try hard enough when it unveiled its long-promised, long-awaited new advertising platform, "inVideo Ads." And there's no real mincing of words with that title, either. This in-video advertising system places semi-transparent (where I come from, we call that "translucent," but whatevs) ad "overlays" across the bottom portion of the viewer's video player for the first ten seconds of the video's overall length. If said ad isn't clicked-on within those ten, precious seconds, it vanishes like the siblings in Marty McFly's family photograph.
And now for a more in-depth explanation, brought to you by PetCo: "Where the Pets Go."
So, say you're some kind of 'roided up freak who's watching a Limp Bizkit video for inspiration. Under this new system, instead of those tedious pre-video ads that are so frustrating that make you wanna "break stuff," you'll be shown an ad for something a person like yourself might find appealing -- say, an ad for Chris Angel's Mindfreak or a Pepsi Max commercial -- while you watch your beloved music video. Those suckers, er... those consumers who click on the ads will either follow a link to a new website or launch a new video player that will run the full video ad. With this kind of demographic specificity at their disposal, advertisers can choose which videos will carry their ads, based on such target criteria as age, gender, location, and genre of video. They can't quite call you by name the way they do to poor Mr. Cruise in Minority Report yet, but god knows they're probably working on that part.
And so far, these sweet future ads seem to be paying off big-time, as they invade our privacy with the greatest of ease. Early launch partners include BMW, New Line Cinema, and of course, Warner Music Group, who is hoping to cash in on the fact that music videos account for a substantial portion of all video streams on YouTube. According to the Associated Press:
Shiva Rajaraman, product manager for YouTube, said internal tests show more than 70 percent of people give up when they see a pre-roll. By contrast, less than 10 percent decide to close an overlay, which they can exit by clicking on an "X" in a corner. The overlay format also gives advertisers more flexibility, he said, because they aren't constrained to keeping a video ad at 15 or 30 seconds to avoid defection.
And heaven knows we wouldn't want to have to "defect" from whatever aimless YouTube video we're watching to get some actual work done, now would we?
***This Just In: Snickers Really Satisfies!!!
So how does it all work? Well, The company will charge on an impression basis, as well as provide click-through data. The initial cost for advertisers will be $20 per 1,000 views, regardless of whether or not the user clicks on the ad. Revenue will be split between the website and the content provider. For example, Linkin Park's "What I've Done" music video has been viewed over 19 million times (yes, that's apparently true). At $20 per 1,000 views, Warner Music Group's share would be just over $190,000.
For a major artist on a major label, that's a fair amount of money. And considering the large video catalog that many-a-major label artist boasts, that revenue will add up to quite the handsome sum of, well, basically found income. In many ways, these ads mark the dawn of the new, ad-supported era (dreamed up years earlier by Stephen Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis, mind you). Rather than collect money from an end sale, other levels of consumer participation matter. As if paying for things that you were genuinely interested in wasn't enough, now there is a way to properly monetize the curious, mildly interested viewers.
What an age we live in, huh? Maybe this means that those Hover Boards have got to be coming any day now.