Lights! Camera! Monetization!
Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) YouTube introduced InVideo ads, small overlay advertisements that take up the bottom fifth of the site's viewing screen for a few seconds. It sure beats the time-sapping pre-roll ads that most of the major networks insert before their videos start.

I wish commercial television would go this route. I know, it does -- sort of. You see the small, animated overlay ads show up during baseball and football games. However, they are typically only promoting upcoming shows on the same network. The real 30-second ads come along when there's a break in the action. Yawn! I'd love to see commercial programming where the only sponsored messages you get are the overlay ads and occasional product placement deals.

I'd love to watch Lost in roughly 40 minutes without having to fumble for my TiVo remote. The Office in 20 minutes? Sign me up. Sure, purists will complain that the integrity of the programming is compromised if distracting ads get in the way. Then again, purists also complained about the wild card in baseball, New Coke, the XFL, and motorized cars.

OK, so maybe World Wrestling Entertainment's (NYSE:WWE) foray into pro football in the form of XFL didn't pan out too well. Purists can be right sometimes. But they're not this time. Monetization has to happen for free video to remain viable. Let's see how the ads play out. If they become too distracting, then maybe a premium service where folks pay for an ad-free experience may be in order.

Yikes! That one would really get the purists fuming.

Quick hits
It was a busy week, so let's take a brisk walk on the lighter side of the market volatility.

  • Media reports had TD AMERITRADE (NASDAQ:AMTD) in merger talks with E*Trade (NASDAQ:ETFC). The talks supposedly went on for weeks. Funny. One would think that two companies that excel in trading and quick executions would be able to nail this one fairly quickly.
  • Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) opened an online store that sells MP3s. Real ones. The type that aren't infected with copy protection or modified to work with only certain digital music players. I posed that this may challenge Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) market dominance. I guess I wasn't in the majority. Either that, or I ran into a very vocal minority. Even my fellow Fools disagreed. Alyce Lomax argued that Wal-Mart has no street cred because it censors music. Tim Beyers argued that legal MP3s would actually help Apple. I see where they're coming from, but isn't it ironic? Wal-Mart strips the DRM shackles off music files, yet it gets tagged as the oppressive one?
  • Renegade video-game publisher Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO) turned heads -- and stock gains -- earlier this week with the release of its BioShock game. I've only seen the ads, but it looks amazing. Imagine that! A Take-Two game that is better known for its jaw-dropping graphics than its jaw-splitting graphical violence. A highly anticipated Take-Two title that actually hits stores, unlike the delays that have plagued Manhunt 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV. What's the deal, Take-Two? If you don't watch out, you're going to be labeled a conformist.   

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Wal-Mart is an Inside Value stock pick.  It's the weekend. You've got all the time in the world. Why not use it to go for a free trial subscription offer?

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.