Blip.tv is teaming up with 7-Eleven on a branded web reality series which will follow two teams as they race across the country to Indianapolis Motor Speedway while buying all their needs — including gas and food — at 7-Eleven convenience stores.
What’s next for YouTube (s GOOG)? Branded entertainment, or when a sponsor pays creators to make something that will bring its brand to their audience.
YouTube is extremely bullish on branded entertainment, Kevin Yen, director of strategic partnerships for the site, said on a panel I moderated a few days ago. Expect a lot of branded projects to hit YouTube “in the coming quarters and months,” Yen said. But he added that the site is still evaluating the questions, “How do you scale it?” and “Can it be a $100 or $200 million a year business?”
Branded entertainment isn’t simple like Google AdWords; it would be hard to set up a product that automated these deals. YouTube is undergoing an “adjustment period” in which it learns how to moderate the various creative and controlling forces involved in commissioning sponsored videos from its users, Yen said. For instance, it connected Carl’s Jr. with nine YouTube stars earlier this year and coordinated their simultaneous launch of videos sponsored by the fast food chain to their 3.8 million combined subscribers (see the one from Nigahiga embedded above).
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This keg is tapped. Bud.TV, the high-profile online video site from Anheuser-Busch (s BUD), has served its last video, and now only has a message that reads: “Bud.tv is no longer available. We’d like to thank millions of viewers from over 200 countries for visiting us over the past couple of years.”
Bud.tv launched at the 2007 Super Bowl and quickly floundered due to a complex age verification system that hampered widespread adoption. Anheuser-Busch’s V-P of marketing, Keith Levy, told Ad Age that the cost and discipline to produce massive amounts of content was too much for the beer company, which spent $15 million on the site.
Bud.tv had hoped to pull in 2 million unique visitors a month, but shortly after launch it was clear that was a pipe dream. It lasted longer than many predicted, however, including receiving a stay of execution in September of 2007, when the company said it would keep the site alive through at least 2008.
“Easy to Assemble” created by Illeana Douglas, will feature appearances by Jeff Goldblum, Ed Begley Jr. and Justine Bateman.