Google is running a test offering about 2,000 premium videos available for free streaming viewing, inserting a persistent banner-type ad at the top of the screen and showing an additional post-roll video ad once the premium content has finished streaming. The test is expected to last about a week, according to Peter Chane, group business product manager, Google Video.
Currently, premium content on Google Video is available via a pay-to-own model that allows users to download and replay ad-free programming at any time. These videos usually cost between $0.99 and $14.99, but you own them once you pay for them. The test program only allows users to stream the content in real-time, and you can't save videos once viewed.
For this test, Google has allowed advertisers to choose the content that their ads are sponsoring. Likewise, content owners have the option to vet an advertiser to make sure the ad is appropriate for the content. Over time, Chane expects that this human-intensive process will become much more automated.
Google intends to run many similar tests over the course of the coming year. The goal is to find ways to expand the amount of premium content available on Google Video and see if free, ad-spondored content attracts certain types of viewing audiences, said Chane.