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Liz Jaques 

Is online video advertising following the TV model?


Latest research shows that online TV shows are pushing advertisers towards a TV-style model.

According to MediaPost, the majority of premium video content comes with pre-rolls (almost 91% of the time), while mid-roll ads make up the rest of video advertising (8% of the time).

However, the difference between online video content and linear TV is ads are much shorter - 15 second spots - and there are far fewer ads during online programming compared with traditional TV ad breaks (at the moment).

There are other differences too - around 40% of the "traditional TV-viewing public" has the ability to fast-forward through TV ads, something which you can not do with premium online TV content.

Also, very few linear programmes start with an ad - normally viewers are treated to a large dose of content before being faced with an ad-break.  Perhaps there is a reason for this - if viewers are getting online content for free, making them watch a pre-roll ad in case they don't stick around long enough to see a later one might be fair enough.

But does this mean online viewers are fickle?  Not necessarily. One research study shows that younger viewers are more than likely to stick with the (online) programme until the end, ads and all.

Hopefully this is representative of the wider online TV audience, as forecasts suggest that total duration levels of traditional TV advertising will be transferred to digital TV viewing at some point (around 10-12 minutes per hour).

That is all well and good, especially from a broadcaster's perspective, but how will consumers feel?  Consumers that are used to "putting up" with online advertising on the basis that they are getting content for free no less.

Online TV services certainly do not want to be in a position where consumers are going elsewhere to avoid ad breaks (on the basis that online ads are seen as more intrusive than the TV ad breaks).

There is, of course, always the possibility that somewhere a Norwegian teenager is writing code to skip online ad breaks too. A bit like Sky+ then?

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