Want more ads? Appears that you do.

by David Spark on January 31, 2009

For years I’ve been attending conferences about the growing market of online video. And the number one topic that was and still is on everyone’s minds remains to be “How do we make money from this?” At that time, no one went the obvious route of, “Let’s place commercials in there just like on TV.” Oh no, we couldn’t do that. This is the Internet and there are new rules. We can’t make them watch commercials online like they do with traditional television.

The issue isn’t “No one wants pre-roll ads.” The issue is people want premium content.

The one issue that kept repeating itself was “No one wants pre-roll ads.” Well, that’s what “the experts” have been saying for years. And because the experts were constantly telling us that, companies like VideoEgg sprung up suggesting new ways to distribute advertising that are “less intrusive” such as overlays and “picture in a picture” programming with ads. Their definition of “less intrusive” meant that the programming is never interrupted, but we can still throw tons of distractions in your face while the video was playing.

At the time this all made sense because there used to be no high demand content online. People were watching tons of video online, but there wasn’t any “must see” online programming. That’s because only until recently, we didn’t have the opportunity, legally, to watch premium network television programming online for free. Also, at that time, no one was actually making TV commercials for online, except those that had already produced commercials for television. It costs money to make a TV commercial. It doesn’t cost much of anything to create a text link, overlay, or banner ad. The problem with online commercials and programming is that there was a lack of supply AND demand.

If we can actually watch it legally, we’ll stomach a pre-roll ad

But the truth is, if the public really wants to watch certain content they’ll stomach through a 15-second pre-roll ad. The reason is probably because by the time you’ve actually become annoyed with the ad, it’s over, or, and this is radical thinking, but maybe the public realizes…

Producing and distributing quality program isn’t free.

And as a result from our basic understanding of how the economics of video programming works, we’re willing to actually watch some advertising. Sure, eat up a whopping 15 seconds of my life so I can actually see that episode of “Lost” I missed on Wednesday night.

ABC.com has the drugs. We want them and we’ll do anything to get them.

But now there’s new news. According to ABC.com, they could safely double the number of commercials in their online programming and we’d still watch with no complaints. It kind of has the stink of a fraternity pledge who will say and do anything just so we can be part of the fraternity. Go ahead and smack us in the ass with the paddle/commercial. “Yes sir, I’ll have another.” We so want to be in the fraternity/see “Lost” that we’re willing to undergo the ridicule of watching more commercials.

We’re willing to watch more, and that doesn’t surprise me. When you have the drugs/content that’s as good as “Lost” you can toy with your audience a lot. We do have a breaking point, but as ABC.com has discovered, it’s beyond twice the number of ads.

For those of you who are big “Lost” fans, here are some of the best online resources for “Lost” fans.

This news item is for the Spark Minute week of 2/2/09 which can be heard daily on Green 960 and 910 KNEW in San Francisco, CA.

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