Eric Schmidt wants so badly for the cool kids in Hollywood to like him. The Google CEO bought that Southern California house. He tried and largely failed to get studio content on YouTube. Maybe if he offers the crown jewels?
The AdWords contextual advertising system on Google's flagship search engine is responsible for the majority of the company's $20 billion plus in annual revenue. Its key selling point: it is relevant, user-friendly — and unobtrusive, keeping people from defecting to other search engines or blocking the ads. Now, reports Ad Age, Schmidt is offering "a select group of entertainment advertisers" — i.e. the Hollywood studios — the chance to buy video ads that would run alongside search results, territory once reserved for text ads. Miramax has tested the system, but otherwise Google has been shunned by the top Tinseltown dogs, selling to the likes of the Travel Channel and videogame maker Electronic Arts.
Google is hardly the only geek dissed by the glitterati: Yahoo tried hard to become a media convergence hub and failed; scores of music startups have gone down in flames or languished for want of workable licensing deals; even Apple has had big problems dealing with Hollywood. Heck, America Online bought a bunch of studios when it acquired Time Warner, and it still couldn't win over the moguls.
Our advice to Google: Hire some serious Hollywood talent, since Southern->Northern California transitions tend to work better than those in the other direction. John Lasseter, the creative leader at Pixar, was a Disney vet who moved to Northern California to work for George Lucas and then Steve Jobs, returning to Disney only when Jobs sold the company. Judging from Jobs' success launching the iTunes Music Store, it would appear Hollywood appeal is contagious. Maybe even for a guy as nerdy as Eric Schmidt.
(Pic: Schmidt, then-Yahoo CEO Terry Semel and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, June 2007. Getty Images.)