Google is about to move into the advertising territory of television stations. The online service is seeking sponsors for a new service that will place video commercials on the many Web sites where it sells advertising.
For now, the New York Times reported, Google isn't placing video advertising on Google.com or the other sites it runs, but the newspaper said Google is considering doing so in the future.
Advertisers have been eager to buy the relatively limited supply of spaces for online commercials at prices that equal and sometimes exceed the rates charged by major television networks, as measured by cost per thousand viewers, the newspaper said.
Google's announcement came a week after AOL acquired Lighteningcast, a company that sells video advertisements on about 150 sites, including Space.com and Nascar.com. Lighteningcast will be merged with AOL's own Advertising.com unit, which mainly sells banner advertisements on other sites but is also getting into sales of video advertising.
Lighteningcast and other video advertising networks are focused on inserting commercials into video programming. The video ads that Google is placing, by contrast, will appear on conventional Web pages; users will see a single image, and the video will play only if they click a button.
Google told the Times that its system would bring video advertising into reach for small businesses.
Gokul Rajaram, a director of product management at Google, suggested that large advertisers will be able to use the system to test different treatments for commercials they hope to run on television.
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