The battle lines have long been drawn between Google and Microsoft in terms of business. Google has Android, Microsoft Windows, Google is search, Microsoft has Bing, etc. Now, Microsoft has begun a new offensive to encroach into the territory owned by Google and others, video advertising and it seems they have been preparing for some time. Reports from the front today say that Microsoft is ready to take on Google head to head in online video. They are soon to unveil the full power of the Microsoft Video Network hoping to steal ad dollars from sites like Google's YouTube.
For now it appears that Microsoft has chosen to meet the enemy on European soil and will begin with UK and its new service allows for programmatic video ad buys. The ads would then run on any number of Microsoft sites including Bing, Outlook, Office, OneDrive, Skype, etc. Additionally, they have created a network of 350 third-party sites they deem "brand-safe" where the ads can also run.
This could begin a major shake up in online video advertising if Microsoft does it right. I find it interesting that they chose the UK first instead of their own home turf. Perhaps they know that Google is too well entrenched in the US.
But there are many large online video advertising networks and Facebook just recently launched their own video ad offering. It could be that the market cannot maintain yet another large player. Then again, more competition is always good as it could work to drive some prices down and with more inventory and more diversity it could be that larger advertisers who perhaps felt they wouldn't have enough reach online, may be wooed into online video advertising now. We know that in the US around 60% of the population watches video online and the reach of the online video ad industry is right around 55.6% as per comScore. In the UK around 80% of the population is watching video online and about 65% of them see online video ads putting it at roughly 52% of the country's population. Google gets about 30 million unique viewers for ads. So Microsoft clearly has their work cut out for them.