Google makes publishers an offer they can't refuse, maybe

Google is reportedly offering publishers more control over ad sales on Youtube as well as their own websites if they choose to use YouTube’s backend video player, though the model is yet to reach Indian shores

e4m by Abhinn Shreshtha
Updated: Aug 3, 2017 7:44 AM

Google is reportedly pitching a new YouTube deal to publishers. According media reports, Google is offering publishers more control over their ad inventory when they use YouTube’s native video player. To provide even more of an incentive, content owners will gain access to the player and accompanying analytics for free.


YouTube has generally restricted sale of ads in its video player so this move will be of some interest to publishers. On the flip side, some publishers might also be wary of how much more influence they would want to give to Google. 


We spoke to a few publishers and content creators in India but it seems the model is yet to be introduced in the country. 


Nickhil Jakatdar, CEO and Founder of VuClip, told us that the move was long overdue and is part of YouTube’s play, to remain relevant in the premium content space. “All the premium content publishers were taking their content off of YouTube while the big video publishers will want to create their own portals, this should help with the next tier of content companies. I think the success of this model in the US will trigger them replicating this in India soon after,” he told us, while adding that as very few publishers are allowed to do direct ad sales on their YouTube videos, the move will be viewed favourably by publishers. 


Obviously, the main reason YouTube is taking this step is to counter the growing dominance of Facebook in the online video space. Facebook has been aggressively courting content creators and publishers while also releasing new video tools. 


Jakatdar agreed that something like this will help YouTube to combat Facebook video on more equal terms. “However, Facebook is being equally aggressive with the same CPs so this is going to be a tough fight between them,” he said.


Usually, the larger publishers tend to develop their own in-house video solutions while the mid-range or smaller ones prefer to use solutions like Brightcove and Ooyala. Using an independent video platform is a preferred solution as it ensures that there is some mediation of monetisation and traffic, said Swapnil Shrivastav, CTO (AdTech and Colombia) at Times Internet. “Videos as a platform have a lot of promise and Google’s products are always of high quality,” he told us, adding that this might be of interest to some publishers.


Manan Kotak, Partner and Digital Head at Chitralekha Group, feels if this model does come to India, it will be good for the mid-sized publishers. “It’s a good push by YouTube to further integrate their services with publishers and provide them with further control over video ads. According to me it is good news for mid-sized publishers, for servicing their advertisers, providing YouTube analytics (which will be trusted more by them) and to continue having the convenience of YouTube video searchability, shareability and overall experience. The question is whether the big/top publishers would be willing to adopt YouTube (video player) and share revenues,” he said. 

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