CALIFORNIA: Cult video website YouTube is to roll out branded 'channels' to monetize its huge popularity by offering advertisers the chance to promote specific products and services.

The new channels will debut with gossip magazine favorite Paris Hilton promoting her fledgling pop career.

So far, advertising on the site has been limited to banner ads, promotions and sponsorships, plus Google and Yahoo text-based ads. Marketers have been cautious about associating their brands with risqué, homemade video clips or illegal copies of professional material.

But even the most traditional of advertisers cannot ignore the enormous potential of YouTube and its imitators.

Procter & Gamble's UK marketing director Roisin Donnelly says the sites are "a very exciting, emerging channel. If it is relevant and the consumer is there and the content is there, there is no reason why we would not use it in the future".

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff