SAN FRANCISCO — The much blogged about introduction of a higher quality playback experience at YouTube, using a 1080p shoebox sized player, was done in part to accommodate the emergence of pre-roll video advertising on the giant site.
In a related announcement this week, YouTube said it would start an experiment with pre-roll ads, providing users with the option not to see the ads.
The quality and format of the YouTube player has been an issue for advertisers who want to present high quality television advertising on YouTube.
At last month's Beet.TV Online Video Roundtable at MSBNC.com, top advertising agency executives complained bitterly about the quality of video on sites like YouTube.
Ogilvy's Robert Davis, who heads the agency's interactive video unit, expressed enthusiasm for the development. Here is what he told me this evening via e-mail:
"The news is good for the industry and it confirms what we have been saying – and proving – at Ogilvy: quality matters in online video.
"It is the consumer marketplace driving the demand for high quality experiences, but smart marketers have already been gearing up for this inevitable next step. In many homes, the best monitor in the house is for the computer. YouTube is taking the next step towards supplying those monitors with content that takes advantage of the technology already in the home.
"As the visual experience becomes more satisfying, the greater the interactive potential becomes for brands ready to play in the content space. For years, we have been forced to build interactive experience around severely limited, technologically inferior video. Not any more."
John McCaris, VP at Dgitas told me on Saturday:
"This announcement may not spark a "rush to post" because so many marketers are still using YouTube for video designed for earned distribution and there's still a belief that success requires "vlogger style" production values. But overall, this is good news. Video quality is improving across the web. Consumers will come to expect it and the creative community will embrace it. YouTube has to do this."
With these announcements, YouTube and Madison Avenue have lined up a little bit closer.
Yesterday at the NewTeeVee Live conference, we caught up with Hunter Walk, YouTube's director of product development. He spoke about the new format, the experiment in pre-roll ads and YouTube's open API.
An exec with Google before the acquisition, he give an overview of YouTube and its growth as part of Google.
Andy Plesser, Executive Producer