Saturday, February 16, 2008

Is This the Future of YouTube and Facebook?

User-generated media has taken a giant step but I'm not sure whether it's forward or backward.

Just when we've all been sitting back enjoying YouTube and its derivatives, ignoring the adverts, along comes an application that will forever change the face of user-generated videos by putting the ads right into the videos themselves.

Overlay TV, currently rolling out its Beta version, enables users (who can subscribe for free) to overlay text, images, graphics and animations onto videos from YouTube and the web's other video upload sites. These overlaid videos can then be embedded into Facebook and other social networking sites.

Overlay has a strong marketing agenda - the site's sample videos show how individual items can be highlighted within a video, enabling viewers to click on them and be shown an embedded store where they can buy the item from a range of affiliates, all while the video conveniently pauses. Like that shirt being worn by Shawne Merriman? Click on it on the video and see how much you can buy it for. Easy.

"Generation P" as Overlay calls its targeted users (that's P for publishers) can and will discover "entirely new business models" through this application.

I'm sure that's true. It certainly takes product placement to a new level of non-sophistication. Having said that, I'm sure we'll all be using it in about six months. Remember where you heard about it! Set up links to Philosopher's Tree all over your videos!

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