updated 09:30 am EST, Thu February 14, 2008
Hoping to create a new way for even amateur video providers to make money, Overlay.TV says it has developed a new platform that can integrate ads into the content itself in an unintrusive way. The self-title service takes Flash-based videos from many common video sites (including MySpace and YouTube) and lets users create clickable areas in a video that tie into related ads; ads can be as subtle as links hovering over products that are already part of the video or as conspicuous as normal ads, Overlay.TV says. The resulting videos can then be embedded anywhere that accepts normal HTML code such as blogs or social networking sites.
Importantly, the service does not require the major content deals that are often needed with other sites. Overlay.TV has already established its own affiliate networks that includes roughly 600 significant advertisers who will provide click-through revenues; this involves direct links to Apple's iTunes Store for songs and videos as well as more conventional purchases from Amazon and Wal-Mart. The feature is also said to be less intrusive as viewers are not forced to view the ads. Overlay.TV is live today and is free to use.
The lack of workable advertising is often cited as a key drawback to the commercial success of most Flash video sites and for video webcasts, as advertisers are either forced to include a separate link, add more intrusive overlays, or to ask customers to visit a website within the videos themselves. YouTube has been promoting its own overlay system but requires that the ad remain visible above the content.