YouTube Commences Redesign, Promises More In-Stream Ads

YouTube has begun the first phase of a redesign that will highlight its gradually expanding library of premium shows and movies. The move, first reported last month on this site, will clearly separate that quality content from the ocean of user-generated clips that drove YouTube’s popularity.

Navigational changes include the introduction of two new tabs — “shows” and “subscriptions” — to YouTube’s masthead. Meanwhile the site has dropped a “Community” tab, which included contests, events, and groups.

The changes are motivated largely by the need to enhance YouTube’s appeal to advertisers, and to increase the available quantity of its preferred video format: in-stream ads. Advertisers can bid on this inventory through the Google TV Ads program, which has been expanded to offer both broadcast and online ads.

“Advertisers will be able to use Google TV Ads Online to reach the millions of people who come to YouTube to watch this content,” Google noted in a blog post. “That’s not only good for advertisers, but content partners who are looking to generate revenue from their videos online.”

YouTube’s original plan was to roll out the new site design the first week of April, but the date was pushed back for unknown reasons. Its sales team has been pitching launch packages to agencies for approximately six weeks, according to one agency source who was briefed on the changes.

While agencies are by and large excited about the new design, content freshness remains an issue. Movies and TV shows available now include mostly older fare from CBS, MGM, Sony, and other partners. Current films and series are markedly absent.

Google has hinted it’s close to signing new licensing contracts for long-form programming. During the company’s Q1 earnings conference call yesterday, CEO Eric Schmidt said the company is making steady progress with movie studios. “We will be announcing additional things in that area literally very very soon,” he said.

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