videoJust as the industry is getting used to the terms and conditions of “online video” it’s time to split it up. Online video is headed for three distinct executions: online spots, email video, and online programming.

The evidence for this comes from several sources, most notably Goodmail’s CertifiedVideo, which bowed this week. CertifiedVideo jumped the gate with AOL and Yahoo aboard and many entertainment brands carrying promotions as part of their email campaigns. It also became apparent at the ARF conference this week, that online video needs to be more closely defined.

That’s why online spots and online programming need their own separate categories. Microsoft showed research this week that failed to make a clear case for the effectiveness of online video over TV. However, this may not be the right comparison to make. How does an online spot (30 seconds or less) perform vs. banners? How does an ad that’s embedded in an online version of The Daily Show perform vs. an ad that appears as a welcome screen for Comedy Cemtral?

Those are the right questions. Those can’t be effectively asked and answered by treating online video as one entity. The issues are different:

Online spots: If the industry can break these executions out from the rich media category we can start to understand the brand awareness created by running independent 30 second spots. Is the brand awareness positive? Higher than banners? Do they foster engagement or chase users away?

Email video: Here marketers need to know if embedding video can be pushed beyond the obvious applications for entertainment marketers. Fashion would seem to be a fit as well. Can email videos be virally sent? Will users click through them for special offers or even tickets to a movie being advertised?

Online programming: Running spots to introduce or even within online programming again needs to be treated as a different category. For TV station websites in paricular (which by the way posted a $1 billion revenue take last year) this is an important test.