YouTube launches first 'branded channel'

Video-sharing web site YouTube has launched its first 'brand channel' to allow advertisers to upload promotional content.

YouTube was officially launched late last year and now serves more than 100m videos a day. The site, which has 65,000 clips uploaded to it every day, has long carried a modest number of ads in test and display formats, but has been mostly funded by venture capital.

It now hopes to translate its popularity into significantly greater revenue by charging companies to advertise their products in a manner similar to that used on social networking site MySpace.

Advertisers will have their own customised pages to push their brands and will be charged in accordance to the number of hits their videos receive. As with other content on the popular web site, users will have to click to play, and the traditional stars system for voting on a video's merits will also apply. This potentially could reflect badly on a company if users register their dislike for a promotion.

The first 'brand channel' client is Warner Music Group, plugging the new album by hotel heiress Paris Hilton, Paris, through a video spot on YouTube's homepage that invites users to visit a page featuring songs and footage of the making of Hilton's CD.

The Warner's page also includes an advert for Prison Break, Fox Broadcasting's hit television series. Revenue from the ad will be split between Warner Music and YouTube.

Last week, the two companies were reported to be in talks over the web site's plan to host "every music video ever created".