Branded video content, which gives creators the opportunity to supplement the revenue they take in from pre-roll advertisements and other sources, is widespread on YouTube. While sponsored videos are ubiquitous, however, the rules governing their disclosure can vary greatly across national lines, with individual governments setting their own, oft-broken guidelines regarding how and when a video’s relationship to an advertiser must be disclosed.
Now, YouTube is trying to do its part to ensure viewers are properly informed about sponsored content. It has launched a new feature that lets creators disclosed paid promotions by way of a small notice that appears in the bottom-left corner of the video player.
While YouTube is making its new feature available to all users, it is reminding its creative community that a notice alone may not meet local disclosure standards. In a blog post, it encourages creators to check the guidelines set by local organizations, such as the FTC in the US and the CAP in the UK.
Content producers who have accused of not properly disclosing branded content include Machinima, Warner Bros, and YouTube stars Dan Howell and Phil Lester. The YouTube Kids app has also ended up in hot water by presenting sponsored videos to children, though YouTube currently asks creators to notify the site about branded content so that it can prevent impressionable young viewers from seeing unmarked ads.