If you're a fan of online video, you could be in for a new advertising treat: AOL and Google have announced plans to start selling upfronts. This common practice of television networks is where they sell shows and ad space for the upcoming season. This is a good way to clear advertising inventory and have predictable revenue streams.
Google is set to have these upfronts in May of this year. AOL has since announced that they are getting in on the action. AOL says that they will offer "guaranteed audience delivery for online video advertising campaigns bought across its properties." AOL will host advertisers on April 24 at a Digital Content Newfronts presentation.
Nikesh Arora, chief business officer at Google, highlighted YouTube's brand power. Google hopes to translate that into ad dollars. Arora said:
We're seeing a breakthrough on brands. More than at any point in the last decade of online advertising, we're at a point where major brand advertisers, from movie studios to CPG companies, are finally looking to digital media as a central part of their marketing efforts. We are making huge progress. YouTube has gone from an interesting ad buy to a key buy for brands. In May we'll be hosting our first upfront for brands and agencies showcasing the latest channel content and opportunities for marketers, something television has been doing forever, we will do that for YouTube [in the year].
In February, the Wall Street Journal reported that Yahoo, Hulu, and Microsoft are also planning upfronts. Google and AOL are not alone is this, but these other sites can't compare with the reach of YouTube.