In what may well be a landmark development for the monetization of online video, Google  has launched a program to provide video publishers and video services companies with overlay advertisements.

Publishers are paid on cost-per thousand impressions basis, or CPM.  The CPM paid to specific publishers will be established through an automated auction process. 

A spokesperson for Google declined to provide a range of advertising
rates, explaining that they will vary widely. 

The ads come in two formats:  The graphical overlay ad developed for YouTube, is called InVideo. It was introduced in November.  These overlay ads have existed only on YouTube.  Please see below an example of how the ad looks on Beet.TV’s YouTube channel.

The second ad unit is an AdSense text overlay.  The overlay ad comes up during the video and provides text-only information, similar to a standard AdSense ad. These are completely new.  Google has been testing these ads with some partners.  Above is the text overlay ad as it appears on

Both ad fomats are dynamic:  When you click on the ad, the video stops and a new browser window opens with the advertiser’s page.

Publishers who want to participate must meet certain criteria and can sign up directly.  Google will introduce a page with the particulars later tonight.

Google is working with video services companies including Brightcove and YuMe who have integrated Google Video AdSense into their platforms.

Brightcove publishers, for example, can elect to have the AdSense video ads inserted on certain inventory, according to specific rules and circumstances such as a big spike in traffic or the availability of unsold inventory.

Brightcove streams videos for some 10,000 sites, to about 130 million unique users a month.  A spokesperson for the Boston company declined to name customers who will participate.

YuMe Networks, which provides an advertising management system for publishers, will offer the AdSense video ads as one of the third party feeds to its system. Publishers can elect to use ads from Google and other networks.    

The Redwood City-based company has been testing the ads on some of its customers’ shows including VidShadow, Mondo Media and JoeCartoon.

Google has the world’s largest online advertising network. Having all this advertising unleashed into the video space is very exciting news for the industry, indeed.

— Andy Plesser