Google looks to woo European media owners with tailored YouTube 'Player for Publishers'

YouTube has debuted its Player for Publishers

As part of its charm offensive on media owners, Google has unveiled YouTube Player for Publishers, a new video offering specifically tailored to the needs of the news industry.

The new tool gives audiences better viewing experiences, while offering publishers more options when it comes to monetising their content.

The Drum understands that publishers will have control over the number of pre-roll ads that appear before their videos, and provide news outlets the option for one pre-roll ad per video view as well as mid-roll ads on long-form content on their owned-and-operated sites and apps.

The tool has been launched as European authorities plan to reform copyright laws, which could mean Google and similar sites would be forced to pay newspaper publishers a fee when using extracts or snippets of their stories; something the head of the European Newpaper Community, Carlo Perrone, has described as a "significant and historic step".

The shakedown could also see publishers and producers required to tell performers or authors what profits their works have generated.

Announcing the launch of Player for Publishers in a blog post, YouTube’s director of content partnerships, Ben McOwen, said: “At Google and YouTube, we’re big fans of the news industry and recognise that technology companies and news organisations are truly part of the same information ecosystem--which is why we want to play our part in the fight towards more sustainable models for news in the future.

“Today, through a unique partnership between YouTube and a number of leading European news publishers, we’re launching a new video solution specifically tailored to the needs of news industry; with a goal of reducing complexity and increasing reach and revenue potential, so newsrooms can focus on what matters most -- creating stories that educate and excite, engage and inspire.”

The solution has been developed in partnership with the Digital News Initiative (DNI), a programme designed to promote collaboration between the tech giant and the media industry. Google said it owed “great thanks,” to the group which helped craft and customise the player through their feedback.

The move has been designed to make the video platform a more straightforward and reliable channel for hosting and streaming across devices for media owners.

Publishers have reportedly been struggling with the scale and complexity video distribution, with the new effort intended to streamline this and help make YouTube ad management easier. In addition, Publishers will get priority ad sales rights across the videos they embed in their sites and apps if they use the new player. In terms of monitesation, publishers using the tool will be given greater choice around the number and frequency of ads they serve ahead of, or during, content. Effectively, publishers will be able to sell their own ads on YouTube without Google taking a cut.

Pilot partners for the initiative include Unidad Editorial and Spanish title Prisa as well as the Guardian and Austrian publication Oe24.

Tony Danker, chief strategy officer, at Guardian News Media – which is founding partner of DNI – said the title was “excited” about the opportunities that the Player for Publishers pilot could provide. “Testing is still ongoing but we are hopeful that this best-in-class player will enable us to showcase our award-winning video content to the full, providing our readers with the best possible user experience,” he added.

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