Yahoo Adds Ads, Community Features to Video Site

Yahoo today unveiled a revamped online video destination, combining Yahoo’s video search capabilities with new community features.

The new Yahoo Video, which aims to compete with popular upstarts like Youtube, MySpace, and even Google Video, offers an expanded index of crawled and uploaded content, as well as feeds from existing Yahoo partners like iFilm and MTV. New features include the ability to upload a video to Yahoo to host, instead of providing a feed or link to content on other sites, and new tools to help content creators let their videos be found.

“Yahoo Video makes it easy for users to discover high-quality content, while video creators can be discovered by the Web’s largest global audience,” said Jason Zajac, general manager of social media at Yahoo.

Also new to the video offering is advertising. Pre-roll video ads, which are available on several Yahoo sites, most prominently Yahoo Music, are absent at launch. The company is having discussions about the timing and extent of possible pre-roll ads on Yahoo Video, Zajac told ClickZ.

“We’ve spent a lot of time looking at that. Yahoo today serves pre-roll ads in many of its properties. The technology platforms are there, and obviously the sales force is there,” Zajac said. “As we begin to amass an inventory of uploaded and hosted content, we’ll be looking at which of those are appropriate to add advertising to.”

For now, the site includes banner ads on pages where Yahoo maintains editorial control, an issue that has kept many wary advertisers from warming to community-based video sites, Zajac said. Banner ads will appear on the Video home page, as well as the popular, categories, and tags pages. Videos featured on those pages are screened for objectionable content by Yahoo before they can appear there.

“The users determine which videos are most popular, but we put some editorial review over which ones to feature on the page,” he said.

Yahoo will also explore paid relationships with content providers looking to reach its audience. Several content providers give Yahoo a media RSS feed of metadata to better index their content in the unpaid Content Acquisition Partners (CAP) program.

Yahoo has been making inroads into the social media space, acquiring both photo-sharing site Flickr and shared-bookmark community del.icio.us in 2005.

The company expects to add tighter integration between the Yahoo Video service and those services in coming months, Zajac said.

Join ClickZ’s Online Video Advertising Forum in New York City, June 16, 2006.

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