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Online Video at ad:tech

It's the second day at ad:tech and the keynote was called, "The Online Video Revolution: A Marketer's Dream or Consumer-Created Mess." For such a doom and gloom title, the conversation between ad:tech's Drew Ianni and the four panelists was optimistic and didn't really match the premise of the lengthy title.

There was little discussion of video as a marketer's dream, nightmare, or whatever. There was much said about the growth of online video. Suzie Reider, CMO of YouTube, cited numbers, "Users upload 65,000 videos a day. And we are still seeing 100 million videos watched per day." CNN president Jonathan Klein said, "We're not seeing enough video. We need to get users to click through more," but then stated that the site gets 50 million video downloads per month. The general consensus was that video would continue to grow online. Though Reider worried, "I am not sure what's going to happen to CPMs when hundred of thousands of video inventory is in the marketplace."

As for consumer-created content, the view was cautious optimism. Sarah Fay, president of marketing company Isobar explained, "The consumers already have a ton of control with brands — like it or not," and "The brands that win will be the ones where consumers tell each other the best stories." YouTube's Reider sees a future of entertainment, "Comedians, musicians, and film-makers will be able to rise up and be found."

In the Q&A that followed the interview, Reider was asked twice about YouTube's strategy with copyrighted material. She was vehement, "We take the copyright issues seriously." Reider said users could go to iTunes or Amazon if they wanted to buy television shows — YouTube will not sell content, only provide free streams. Despite panelists claims that the future of online video includes interactive television, whether IPTV or online channels, CNN and YouTube's strategies point to a future that relies on the format of short and free videos.

What do you think the future of online video shall be?