According to the Wall Street Journal, Google today mentioned that YouTube will start to allow users to skip pre-roll ads (they’ve been testing this since last November) when those type of ads appear (usually on higher-end content). Google also said that they will start letting users choose what ads to watch when dealing with longer-form content (a la Hulu), sometime later this year.
Google’s rational behind this is that by allowing users to skip ads (advertisers would then not be charged for the impression, so Google could lose some revenue here, especially short term) it will force advertisers to produce more compelling ads that users don’t want to skip, therefore creating better value for everyone.
In the face of a huge onslaught by Hulu – which has been a bit more creative in how they show ads, at least from our point of view (and Google is desperate to make money off of YouTube of course) Google needs to try whatever it can.
Somewhat ironically and coincidentally (or maybe not so much, who knows, right?) Hulu announced Hulu Plus during the Google press conference today.