Note To TV Commercial Advertisers: Online Video Is Unlikely To Be Your Savior

from the not-so-easy dept

The online video market is incredibly hot right now, and it might get even hotter with the news of Yahoo’s purchase of Jumpcut (a company that presented at the last Techdirt Greenhouse event). Also today comes the news that over 100 million Americans viewed online video in the month of July. However, the most interesting of all is the news from AdWeek that advertisers just can’t find enough inventory to put their commercials into online videos, driving the prices way up. That last stat, though, needs to be taken with some large grains of salt. After all, two of the most popular online video sites, YouTube and Google Video, don’t currently put video ads before or after their content (though, certainly the owner of any video could simply put a commercial into the beginning of their video) — meaning that all of the hype around online video hasn’t really opened up the inventory. The immediate response might be that this represents an opportunity for YouTube to justify some of the highly speculative valuations being tossed around.

That might be shortsighted, however. It’s taking a very traditional TV advertising view of the online world — where the inventory is limited. There is no real limit on online inventory — just on viewers, and to get viewers you need to just have something to attract them. Also, a lot of the supply for these ads is probably coming from execs who used to spend on TV ads, but are now freaking out over things like TiVo. Of course, rather than come up with advertising that fits the way people use the web, they simply want to shift the same exact ads from TV to the web, assuming that they’ll work just as well. That’s unlikely to be the case, however. TV ads tend to work because you have a captive audience who has no other choice (hence the popularity of fast forwarding through ads when available, or simply channel surfing during commercial breaks). People who are online have myriad other choices to choose from, and are likely to use some of those other choices if you’re trying to waste 30 seconds of their time — something it appears YouTube recognizes so far. The real trick is for advertisers to stop worrying about where to place their 30 second spots, and focus on making relevant, interactive advertising that people want. Certainly some advertisers have started to figure this out, but if the online video world is just inundated with repurposed 30-second spots, it’s unlikely to be very successful.

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Comments on “Note To TV Commercial Advertisers: Online Video Is Unlikely To Be Your Savior”

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Solo says:

(no more ads)

(pssss… listen… but don’t repeat this… people are waking up, they realize that TV is syphoning their useful time. Doe not help that the “content” is padded with more than 35% of unwanted, irrelevant, loud, annoying, idiotic commercials. Tivo is your savior. But also is reading a book or finding entertainment on the web.

And on the web, you already have all the tools to filter out the crap. I mean ads. filterset.g, adblock, nukethis, noscript, greasemonkey all good for defending yourself. Those are extensions for Firefox. I’m certain that similar solutions exist for IE.

Video on the web maybe hot. But it’s only because there are no ads. TV has pushed people away because of it. The sooner they apply the same paterns to the web, the sooner the cash cow will crumble.

I watch less than 30 minutes of ‘real-time’ tv per day. When there is something interesting, I just tape it and skip the commercial during playback. Too bad so sad for advertizers. They are right to soil their undergarments over this trend. It’s my tv, my time, I’m fighting back.

But don’t let them know.)

Anonymous Coward says:

here's an idea

banners.. i know, they’re anoying but i would rather have banners on the bottom of my window stating “brought to you by blah blah blah and blh blah blah” with a link to a really good website that doesnt cram adware or spyware or viagra into my computer screen. invest the advertising dollars on a good webpage and maybe i’ll by you stuff… just dont force me to watch your crap cus i aint watchin

Anonymous Coward says:

Diggnation/TWiT Does It Right

If online videos begin to put ads in, they will easily be skipped or simply ignored. To compete, an advertising agency should embed their products when possible. No one wants to be preached to by advertising companies. But Video/Audio Podcasts such as TWiT and Diggnation embed the advertising in the middle of the conversation, and it works. I recently decided to finally get a credit card. What did I get? A Visa. I also purchased some domain names. Who did I use? Godaddy. My point? These are two companies that were almost casually advertised on these two shows. Painless and productive.

random guy says:

Can comercials be content?

I remember spending quite a bit of time on Ad Critic…. before they had to switch to a subscriptions based model.

If the ad agencies can’t understand interactive content, can they at least start making better commercials?

I remember seeing several commercials on Ad Critic that I had to share with friends because they were so entertaining.

The only thing that comes to mind recently as share worthy is some of the vonage commercials.

Ad Agencies…. Entertain me while you are trying to sell me stuff, and I’ll willing watch the commercial a second time. Wow me with your creativity and I’ll talk about your commercial with friends!

Anonymous Coward says:

30 seconds in the web world is an eternity. If your homepage takes 30 seconds to load, people leave. If your flash file takes 30 seconds to load, people leave. If your mov or wmv file takes 30 seconds to load, people leave….

people leave because it’s a waste of their time. TV ommercials are a waste of their time, that’s why people raid the fridge during commercials.

We need to rethink the way commercials are presented on the web. Google has it “almost” right, with their adsense program: Host textual, somewhat relevent, ads on a web page. Light, fast, unintrusive… the human eye glances at it, and that’s it.

It’s a wonderful way to solidify branding, it’s a silly to expect mass conversion from it, however.

30 seconds of a persons time is worth a lot… Just how much is not yet known. But rather than conduct a study on it, companies will loose money, fail, and embarass themselves in their attempts to guess at it…


Anonymous Coward says:

Not only do commercials waste time they ruin shows as well. You ever watch LOST with commercials? Supspence is building…building…dramatic…OMG – commercial. I’ve gotten used to watching TV on DVD and now I can’t go back to regular TV. I don’t think commercials on the web will work. People will just go somewhere where the ads aren’t.

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