Is TV Past the Future for Video Blogging?

I've been hearing a lot more recently from companies that doing video blogging about putting product placement and pitches into their video blogs. Angel Gambino, an exec at the social networking site Bebo came in today and was talking about it. And my collegue Peter Burrows mentioned that Kevin Rose from Digg and Diggnation said that he thinks this is the future of advertising.

I’ve been hearing a lot more recently from companies that are doing video blogging about putting product placement and pitches into their video blogs. Angel Gambino, an exec at the social networking site Bebo came in today and was talking about it. And my collegue Peter Burrows mentioned that Kevin Rose from Digg and Diggnation said that he thinks this is the future of advertising.

So we’re back to the early days of TV, when the on air product pitches were what paid for the shows. But that’s an exaggeration, because even today, this kind of editorially contextual advertising can be found on radio shows, podcasts, and as it happens, Martha Stewart of late. My initial thought was that doing marketing this way is too intensive for both the advertiser and the person making the video. I can’t see how it scales across a broad number of shows or whether there are enough advertisers where this kind of expense would make sense.

Bebo, for instance, is launching a spin off of Lonelygirl 15 called Kate Modern. The two month series of video blogs follows the travails of, naturally enough, a young woman and her friends trying to make it in the big city. Since Bebo is the No. 1 social networking site in the U.K., the big city in this case is London. The product placement will come in the form of the places where Kate, our heroine, works, for instance. And it will also come in the form of a new band that a record label is trying to break. The band is being woven into the plot line to give it exposure.

Seems like a lot of work to me. But here’s the thing. Unless we’re talking about a whole stable of shows, a la the network, it may very well be that product placement does work. In this world of micro audience hits, rather than mass audience hits, maybe it does make sense to tailor specifically to that audience with products that migth work for them in a way that works for them. That’s the idea that Rocketboom mapped out when it got its first advertising sponsorships last year.

It’s not an either or, I think. I definitely think that one of the many Adsense for video platforms that so many companies are developing will work in a big way. But at the other end of the spectrum, at the other end of run of site, there is this notion that does fit well with where we are today, even as it mirros where we were 60 years ago.