Online video platform Joost has signed three-month contracts with a group of 31 big brand advertisers, including Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Nike, General Motors and Visa. It will offer these marketers traditional units such as :30 mid-roll spots as well as unique formats, including a small digital overlay ad.
"The foundation is the traditional :30 spot, which we believe is far from dead, served on a mid-roll basis,” said David Clark, Joost's EVP of global advertising. "We're inspired by others who seem to be able to make this work, like ABC for example."
Joost said it's worked with 20 agencies to develop its upcoming campaigns mainly in the U.S. and Europe. U.S. advertisers on the system include Electronic Arts, Kraft, Lionsgate, Microsoft and Nestlé Purina PetCare. IBM, L’Oréal Paris and Nokia Nseries are among the European brands. The Coca-Cola Company, HP, and Intel are advertising globally on the system.
Ad units include still images, video spots, overlays and widgets, in addition to branded entertainment and channel sponsorships. Joost has also created an ad unit called Ad Bug, consisting of an advertiser's animated logo in a corner of the screen, similar to station ID components in cable and broadcast TV. Ad bugs will appear at various times during a given show and disappear again after a matter of seconds.
"For this to work the bargain between the user and the advertiser needs to be reinvented," said Clark. "The basic premise is not that complicated."
Clark said users can click the ads to get more information from advertisers, link to an external Web site or view another video on the platform; a movie trailer for example.
Joost is working with research firm Frank N. Magid Associates to test new ad formats, measure user consumption habits, and assess ad effectiveness. It also has a year-long strategic partnership with Interpublic Group's Emerging Media Lab to develop and sell advertising on its platform.
Joost proposes to deliver only one :30 spot per block of programming, usually long-format television-style shows. The ratio of ads to content on its platform is therefore likely to be considerably less than on TV.
Joost offers a downloadable application, still in beta, that blends the high quality, sit-back video experience of television with the on-demand, self-guided experience of Web video. It's content includes programs from partners such as CBS and Viacom. The firm, founded by the inventors of Skype and Kazaa, can create behavioral profiles of its users based on their viewing behavior, creating opportunities for greater targeting.
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.