The end of pre-roll ads…finally!

(Play the video above to see)

Finally, the players in online video are adapting to the fact that the way in which we interact with video online is completely different from our experience with linear TV. More specifically, most users are turning away from video with pre-roll advertising. It could be the fact that most pre-rolls are commercials made for TV placed in front of short form content, but I don’t think so. This is a very different medium and our time is most often limited when viewing content.

The most recent solution seems to be pop-up type banners at the bottom of the video window while the content keeps playing. You can wait for the pop-up to go away, or you can close them right away. You also have the option to scroll through even more of them. Funnily enough I found myself doing this because the banners were relevant to what I had chosen to watch. Was it because I am in the industry? It may be, but I found myself doing it at points I was bored with the content of the video itself. The lesson here is if you give the user the power to interact, they will use it. In this case it works to the ADVANTAGE of the advertiser. WOW!

Maven.net and YouTube are the largest adopters of this approach, but others will quickly follow.

YouTube has also added to both its Custom and AdSense players. These are players that you can build with content of your choosing in order to post on any site or blog that you want, including content from the major networks. It is truly a revelation to see content from the major networks with NO pre-roll advertising, but pop-ups instead – knowing that this is likely to set a very real precedent. The small pop-ups offer a terrific alternative to traditional advertising, with the option of linking to a commercial or any other content that an advertiser wants to share with us if we WANT to see it.

…but wait a minute, does this really matter?….I mean, most people still watch TV right?

Yes, BUT this year almost 16% of American internet users watched full-length television shows online, according to a new report released by The Conference Board and TNS. This is double the amount recorded last year. Personal convenience and commercial avoidance were the two top motivating factors. Nearly 73 percent of online households said they use the internet for entertainment purposes on a daily basis and an additional 15 percent search for entertainment several times a week.

From all of this you can only draw a few simple conclusions. Once the convergence of TV and the internet is fully realized, commercials will most likely disappear in their current :30 & :60 forms. Why? Because our habits are being driven by our fast-changing relationship with interactivity, and the web is leading the way.

The transformation is happening sooner than you think; so agencies, brands and media owners who don’t adapt…beware! Time to seriously start dismantling those big TV ad shops and figure out what content consumers will ask for…figure out how to get your clients to bring value to their customers through these much more valuable new forms of interactivity.

…and please STOP asking me if you can just place those :30’s on the web…NO!

If you think this warning is dramatic or out of touch…know that I HAD to add the word ‘ad’ into the title of this blog as a senior executive from a major agency whom I was in a meeting with last week did NOT know what ‘pre-roll’ meant. SCARY!…but SADLY true…

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