YuMe Networks, which specializes in broadband video advertising, has teamed with peer-to-peer file sharing pioneer BitTorrent to launch a campaign that inserts customizable, targeted video ads in downloaded movie files.
The month-old Redwood City, Calif.-based company asserts the campaign is the first to allow Web publishers to measure, track the viewing and continually optimize ads delivered with downloaded video. The first campaign will promote the upcoming video and PC game “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary” published by Eidos Interactive, said YuMe. The ads will be featured on video files from Comcast Networks’ G4 TV and distributed on BitTorrent.
In an interview with ClickZ, YuMe CEO and Co-Founder Jayant Kadambi said his company’s technology brings to the peer-to-peer space traditional ad metrics including reach, frequency and view-throughs (YuMe’s version of click-throughs). “Until now, P2P sites have been unable to track and provide reporting on who, when and where content is downloaded and viewed,” said Kadambi. He said YuMe “solves this problem” and brings accountability and a monetization system to peer-to-peer.
YuMe is not the only company hoping to cash in on P2P advertising. Despite criticism from many users of open source file sharing systems, who lament the commercialization, companies such as YuMe, Skyrider and MediaDefender insist P2P marketing is a good thing and here to stay.
“More free content will now be available,” said Kadambi. “Our technology allows P2P sites to determine the best monetization model by content type… Some content lends itself more to a pay-to-own model, like movies, whereas episodic programming lends itself better to an ad-supported model.”
While the BitTorrent technology is widely used to illegally share music and video files across the Internet, BitTorrent.com offers a way to legally rent or buy this content. Kadambi said YuMe’s system will allow BitTorrent to offer video files for free because they will come with YuMe-provided ads that will run before, during or after play.
Aside from the viewing metrics the YuMe network provides, a big bonus for advertisers is the capability to change the spots “on the fly,” said Kadambi.
“Ad systems today are very good at taking content from HTML pages and then deciding contextually what is the most relevant search link or what is the most relevant text associated with that content and sending back a banner or text ad to associate with that,” said Kadambi. “What we’re saying is that video streaming is a fundamentally different thing. You need to do it cross-platform and you should be able to take a video ad, associate it with a set of content and demographics and allow the advertiser to associate that regardless of where the content is being watched — be it the Web, a mobile phone or a BitTorrent download — and aggregate the reporting all across that.”
He cited Netflix movie rentals in describing the drawbacks of traditional, static advertising attached to movies. “If you watch the movie three months after the DVD was printed, you see the same old ads,” he said. “There’s no ability to optimize or change… no flexibility at all. And that’s the state of the download industry today.”
His company doesn’t collect personal viewer data, but it does track IP addresses and can target ads based on prior downloads, geography and other information. “There is instantaneous and predictive reporting, ad rotation and ad customization,” said Kadambi.
YuMe’s technology categorizes online video content into customizable channels such as auto, finance and entertainment. Its customers select the channels that most closely match their brands, products and messaging.
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