Google quietly launched its on entry into the video blogging space in September with Poptub, a best of YouTube show, mixed with the occasional interview, and a dose of quirky blonde.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that the show is produced by Embassy Row, the production company run by “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” creator Michael Davies, and is sponsored by Pepsi. Embassy Row produced the “Cartoon Cavalcade of Comedy” previously for Google, a series that became a big hit on YouTube.
The new show is being promoted by Google through advertising on YouTube, and across the Google advertising network, including placements in video ad units.
While not the first original content ordered by Google for YouTube, Poptub is the first time Google has entered the person on screen show space, traditionally the domain of video bloggers, but more recently with professional backing and production, such as shows offered by Revision3. It also demonstrates Google’s growing creep into the content space, moving away from its core function of indexing the world, to actually become a content provider, best demonstrated by Knol.
The show is clearly being used as a way to highlight great YouTube content, and to increase user viewing rates. However, it’s a very slippery slope for Google. Holding a near monopoly in search, and a 70%+ share in online video means that Google is all powerful when it comes to content business and traffic. Google as a unique content provider may get an unfair advantage over existing players, and at a time Google’s market share is being looked at in several countries, this won’t help Google’s argument that it is a utility player alone.