A Video Ad Network with a Soft Sell

Discussions about pre-roll and in-stream video advertising often center on the appropriate length of the marketing interruption. Thirty seconds? Fifteen? Ten?

Video hosting and sharing platform VideoEgg is betting the answer is “zero” with the launch of its new soft-sell video ad network that recommends paid ads to users who are engaged with video content, rather than force feeding them. The site launches with several social networking services as partners.

Eggnetwork offers a variety of units. The first is an “ad ticker” overlay, which displays a suggested trailer or other paid video ad in a thin strip of text at the bottom of a requested video while it plays. The second, called “end-cap,” issues a still-frame call to action at the end of a video, inviting users to click through to watch a paid ad. A third option takes a more traditional and in-your-face approach, deploying a persistent brand presence below the requested video as it plays, and then showing a brief still frame ad followed by a :15 or :30 post-roll spot.

In the case of the first two units, advertisers pay only when a consumer clicks through to see a paid video, a practice VideoEgg calls “permission-based video advertising.” Chief Marketing Officer Troy Young told ClickZ he expects to achieve CPMs above $50 because of the opt-in nature of the placements. “We think advertising is content,” he said. “Advertisers are creating more and more entertaining content as they begin to exist in a world where everything’s on demand.”

Sites in the network include social media plays hi5, Bebo and Tagged, plus 57 other social networking and vertical interest sites. The daily impression count is 10 to 20 million, according to Young.

These publishers have begun offering dedicated video sections courtesy of VideoEgg’s technology. While some video hosting services aim to be media destinations in their own right, VideoEgg has staked its future on partnering with sites that want to offer users video creation and sharing functions, but lack the wherewithal to build them in-house. In this respect, VideoEgg is not unlike syndication platforms, such as Brightcove and Mochila, which export a media player and video content to Web sites. However, whereas those services specialize in produced and copyright-cleared content, VideoEgg is placing its bet on amateur video.

“Our bet is that a lot of sites are going to need video infrastructure,” said Young. “A lot of people want video, from newspapers to social networks to…enthusiast communities. Video is also really expensive. There’s lots of good economics in [the] infrastructure play.”

VideoEgg offers a human review of each video in the Eggnetwork, a move it hopes will put marketers’ at ease about advertising against content of questionable quality, cleanliness or copyright.

The company introduced its ad network yesterday at the MIXX conference in New York. It joins other video-based ad networks run by the likes of Advertising.com, MSN and Tremor Network.

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