The new offering, dubbed InVideo Ads, mimics the clickable ad overlays introduced in recent months on ad networks like VideoEgg and YuMe.

In testing for several weeks, the ad product consists of animated bars that obscure the bottom 20 percent of the video frame for a given clip. They initiate 15 seconds after the beginning of a clip, an interval YouTube selected because "it takes users 10 seconds to become acclimated to what they are watching," according to Shiva Rajaraman, YouTube Product Manager. InVideo overlays are "80 percent transparent" and remain visible for approximately 10 seconds before shrinking to a small button users can later click to view the marketing message again.

YouTube has set a $20 CPM for InVideo ad buys consisting of an InVideo ad accompanied by a tiny in-player companion ad and an adjacent in-page unit. Brands advertised in the testing phase include Universal Studios' "Evan Almighty," Twentieth Century Fox's "The Simpsons Movie," BMW's 3 Series convertible, NewLine's "Hairspray" and approximately 15 others. Select content providers taking part in InVideo -- and in any ad revenue it generates -- at launch include Ford Models, Warner Music Group and Roadrunner Records. Several of the content examples YouTube shared during a press briefing consist of ads placed within music videos.

Rajaraman said the field of participating content owners is "significant," but declined to identify their exact number or to estimate the volume of ad impressions YouTube expects to offer media buyers under the new program. But he insisted reach is not a concern.

Get the full story ClickZ