CBS, MediaMind ‘Extend’ Video

One of the problems with Web video is that there is only so much video ad inventory online, so many publishers shove video spots into traditional display ads.

That leads to another problem: Display ads are often too small — or tucked away too discretely to the side — to properly showcase brands’ big-money TV ads.

CBS believes it has an answer to that conundrum. The company has partnered with the rich-media firm MediaMind (formerly Eyeblaster) to create a new ad treatment called the Video Extender, which allows users to view video ads in as large a screen as they’d like. The unit features an arrow in the bottom left-hand corner, and when loading prompts users to “click and drag to expand video.” Users can then expand the ad unit to the size of their choosing, even covering up content and links that appear on the page.

Motorola and its agency Mindshare worked directly with CBS and MediaMind to develop the Video Extender unit. The electronics firm is set to kick off a campaign employing the unit on CBSSports.com this week.

While the Video Extender somewhat bucks the current online ad industry trend towards bigger, more intrusive creative, it does allow CBS to monetize more text pages with video. It also provides the company with a unique placement to take to brands looking to break through the clutter, according to Laura Froelich, CBS Interactive’s vp, product marketing.

“Advertisers want to be the first to do things in the market,” she said. “But we don’t want to do cool stuff just to do cool stuff. We think that in the minds of our users, it’s something that is fun for them and engaging for them. And they are not necessarily saying, ‘I want it bigger.’ This is about the customization of the experience. It’s about giving our audience the opportunity to make it their own. For them, ‘It’s the size I want.'”

Advertisers can use their pre-existing TV spots via the Video Extender, which is available on all CBS Web properties, ranging from CBSNews.com to Chow.com.

In Motorola’s case, the company is using the new unit to distribute a series of new Webisodes featuring Discovery’s Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs). Those Webisodes depict Rowe demonstrating the Motorola i1, a new smartphone powered by Google’s Android software and Sprint’s Push to Talk technology.