A recent article from Ad Age last week explained that Google is now adding video capability to their primarily text-based AdSense. This is interesting for a ton of reasons, but here’s just one: they’re implementing this using completely permission-based conditions. Each content-driven ad doesn’t get played unless you, or I, opt-in to check it out. You click play, and the spot plays. Otherwise, don’t worry about it. And the advertisers don’t pay unless you click. So what all does this mean? For one, it means Google is directly taking on the networks for their advertising dollars by providing a more direct and targeted alternative to the over-priced and under-relevant traditional television spot. In television, advertisers pay big to pepper their message far and wide to the masses, fingers crossed that their market demographic 1) doesn’t have TiVo and 2) happens to be watching (and caring) when their spot runs. Google’s model allows advertisers the cost-efficiency of marketing only to those who care. It also means that everyone’s happy. Marketing Directors are happy, because Google’s cost-per-click arrangement makes tracking referrals and determining ROI easier by leaps and bounds. Advertising Creatives are happy, because their 30-second spot isn’t going to bite the dust after all. And consumers are happy because they get to either do their 2nd-favorite thing, which is to ignore, or their 1st-favorite thing, which is to embrace distraction. Will people click? Absolutely, as long as advertisers package their message in meaningful (aka awesome) ways. People are already going out of their way to email, blog, and IM worthwhile videos to everyone in their little cyberspace. YouTube pays almost $1 million a month in bandwidth costs. People are watching the stuff. My hope is that this will further divert advertising from mass viewer crop-dusting, and keep pushing towards relevant, focused, and conversation-worthy messages.