Rocketboom Moves to, Sarah Silverman Show Sponsors

Rocketboom’s quirky video blog now contain clickable video ad overlays that might mark the first time such ad units were created in QuickTime, according to those involved.

The ad campaigns are the result of a deal between Rocketboom and, an online network that hosts, distributes, finds sponsors for and shares revenue with independently produced programs. is also now hosting Rocketboom segments, serving its RSS feed and syndicating it to other online video portals, said co-founder and CEO Mike Hudack. Other shows on the growing site include Wallstrip, Geek Entertainment TV and Alive in Baghdad.

The first ad campaign to accompany Rocketboom episodes is for the second season of Comedy Central’s The Sarah Silverman Program. worked with New York ad agency Deep Focus to broker the deal. In addition to the QuickTime video ad overlay, the campaign includes post-roll videos for the Silverman show. personnel began working with counterparts at Rocketboom several months ago and built the infrastructure needed to transfer Rocketboom’s hundreds of episodes to, said Hudack. It also developed what Hudack calls “pioneering new technology” needed to serve the Silverman campaign ads.

Hudack said he believes it’s the first time anybody has created interactive QuickTime overlay ads that behave similarly to the more common Flash units. “Historically, with Flash video on the Web you can pretty much do anything you want, but QuickTime is more complicated and more difficult to work with,” he said. “QuickTime is not an authoring environment.” He said the overlay comes up within a few seconds of the initiation of a video and has a close button..

Hudack declined to share early results, but he said the partnership is “seeing good viewership numbers and good impression numbers.”

The QuickTime overlay works in iTunes and Miro. In his blog, Hudack praised “the brilliant Dennis Backus of Apple’s QuickTime team and Josh Paul of Aweli” for their work on the project. He also said Rocketboom co-creator Andrew Michael Baron, “wouldn’t settle for just any QuickTime advertising implementation” and “insisted on something groundbreaking.” has 10 employees, three of which are involved in ad sales, working with “a number of different agencies and brands.”

In a statement, Deep Focus Media Director Eric Druckenmiller observed Rocketboom and Sarah Silverman are a good match since they feature “unique content” appreciated by both of their audiences. Hudack agreed, noting, “Everybody is trying to figure out how you take the content we deal with and match it with advertising” that resonates with the fans. He said many programs hosted by have avid followers who are notified regularly when a new episode is available. “Some of these people get shows delivered on a daily basis,” said Hudack. “They develop a real relationship with the host or hostess.”

Also important is finding ways to serve advertisements that are as non-intrusive as possible, he said. The video overlays being used on Rocketboom are an example of this in that it gives viewers “the opportunity to learn more and, if they are not interested, to kind of tune it out or, if they want, to close it.”

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