YouTube to Add Pre-Roll Video Ads

Touting the effort as a way to "reward creativity," YouTube founder Chad Hurley confirmed to BBC News that the company plans to add commercials to the start of uploaded videos, and give users a cut of the profits. But details are still scarce at the moment.

The effort isn't surprising: Google has begun making a foray into video advertising, partnering with a number of Web sites to deliver Flash-based movies within ad boxes. When it purchased YouTube last year for an astounding $1.67 billion, Google was clear that it planned to recoup the investment through advertising.

For obvious legal reasons, pre-roll advertisements -- which could be a static image or short video clip -- will only appear on videos that are fully owned by the user uploading them. In the beginning, it appears that the system will be opt-in by the content creators, who can select what type of ad viewers will see.

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In order to reduce potential complaints, Hurley suggested that YouTube is aiming for very short video clips of only three seconds - although, Google's current video ads run much longer than that. Other sites have found moderate success with similar revenue sharing plans, including Revver, but YouTube is by far the dominant player in video sharing.

Hurley told the BBC that the advertising system won't be rolled out all at once, but in phases over the coming months. YouTube is still working on the technology to insert the video ads, as well as the system for sharing revenue with content authors. It's not clear how of the feature much could, or will, be derived from Google's cash cow AdSense program.

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