Yesterday, NY Times reported on Google’s partnership with Family Guy creator that will algorithmically distribute short video clips to appropriate partner web pages a la AdSense.  I think this marks a dramatic shift in the internet-video industry.  We’ve already observed the importance of marketing.  Now Google has enabled paid-placement tantamount to lead-ins or promos on network TV. 

What does that mean?  For better or for worse, the playing field is no longer quite as level.  The business of content-creation now requires the management of complex marketing mechanisms and, more important, the ability to pay for visibility.  As Steve Bryant notes in his list of astute, not-“exhaustive” observations, “Peeps lose interest [in episodic internet content] If they’re not hit over the head with advertisements.”

The new entertainment product is a cross-network, cross-platform collection of content that impacts viewers at different times and in different ways.  It’s bound together by an over-arching theme, or a set of principles, and a clear label. 

The challenge, of course, becomes matching the content to the people who will appreciate it.

Currently, discovery is inefficient.  When I get to YouTube, I click on Ego TV – Promo Highlights because it’s promoted; chances are, I won’t really care for it.  On Amazon, however, the media presented to me is strikingly appealing because it’s based on my entire purchase history. No such collaborative filtering technology has emerged as a major discovery mechanism for internet video.

Google’s unique ability to  surround text content with relevant text content marked a step in the evolution of commerce on the internet, but its ability to algorithmically match video content to text content is as yet untested.  This is the first step, and it’s likely – in my opinion – to change the entertainment industry. 

Hulu aims to be the one-stop shop for professional video content on the web, and I’m sure their collaborative filtering mechanism is well on its way, but Google will give the concept a run for its money with this distributed promotion. 

Online retailers factor Google AdWords as a cost of doing business.  I suspect that the same will become true of entertainment producers and Google’s new video promotion platform. 

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