Survey Says: Ads in Videos Are Annoying

December 19, 2006

An interesting new survey of web users by Burst Media this month found that most people do not like advertisements placed in online video, few people pay particularly close attention to them and a significant portion of viewers leave a site all together when they see ads placed in videos. These aren’t surprising conclusions to come to. (via)

From the write up of the survey:

Among respondents, one out of two (52.7%) say they typically continue watching video content once they encounter an advertising unit; 40.4% say they typically stop watching.

Interestingly, one-quarter (27.9%) of respondents who stop watching video content once they encounter an advertisement also say they immediately leave the website…three quarters (77.5%) of respondents say advertisements in online video are intrusive..

What does this mean for video sharing companies and video content creators? It’s something that needs to be discussed widely.

It’s hard to say whether there will be an ongoing consumer backlash, almost all new media face struggles to become economically viable while early consumers yearn for content free of advertising. I don’t particularly like pre-roll ads myself, though I try to click on all the post-roll ads I see in videos I like just to support all the people involved.

Google AdSense is far and away the most profitable form of online advertising that’s emerged of late but that’s in large part because many people don’t recognize the text link ads as ads at all! Other media have found that the initial backlash fades when consumers begin to empathize with content creators and delivery services. At least that’s been the case where advertising has been kept low-key.

For now at least, advertisers are willing to pay far more for ads that run before videos than for those running after. If the practice of leaving a site all together upon seeing a video ad becomes common, though, pre-roll ads may not be the most valuable in the long term.

Post-roll ads are of questionable impact, though. Just yesterday, for example, Jay Dedman and Ryanne Hodson of FreeVlog and RyanIsHungry cited the unproved viability for all but the biggest stars of Revver’s post-roll ads with revenue sharing when they explained their decision to work with Podtech.

As we move towards launch here at SplashCast, we’re feeling a real need to explore revenue streams other than pre or post-roll video ads. Other than white-labeling software (a great approach), there are not a lot of alternatives that have been brought to market yet. We’ve got some interesting ideas we’re working on.

I think the questions brought up by this Burst Media survey are of general interest to anyone who uses the web. If pre-roll ads drive away viewers and post-roll ads are not worth very much – what models are likely to emerge with strength in the coming months?

From infrastructure providers to content creators, people need and deserve to be able to afford the time and energy it takes to make the thriving ecosystem of online media continue growing.


November 20, 2006

I spent some of my weekend going through video interviews Andy Plesser does at Have you checked out the video interviews Andy does? They are informative. Andy stays out of the way, letting the interview subject do the talking. The interviews are usually less than five minutes.

Here are a few I checked out:

Mike Arrington, TechCrunch

Mike Arrington, known for his critical views on traditional media which I agree with for the most part, has a few strong words in this interview that Andy did at the TechCrunch party. Heh. Watch through the end of the video. I guess I am a fan of So is Mary Jo Foley. I like that kind of company!

Here’s what Mike had to say about traditional media:

“You know I think that there are a lot of things wrong with traditional media and they’re going to have to sort that out on their own time. I think there won’t be many of them left standing once it is sorted out. And you know it’s very cheap to run a blog these days and for certain types of journalism it’s very effective so I think blogs will continue to do well.”

Mike Hudack, founder,

A few weeks back, Andy Plesser interviewed Mike Hudack, co-founder of Hudack is not as blunt as Arrington. But he makes the point, which is right on, that the laws of scarcity are over and abundance is now the working proposition.

He points out that all these great videoblogs and video files that people upload to the Internet are starting to get consumed on TV. People are hooking up boxes like Akimbo and watching online shows on their television sets just like they watch show from CBS or NBC. More so, the number of people who watch the Internet on their TV sets is morphing, growing at a rate faster than people adopted VCR’s and DVR’s.

Bambi Francisco, Marketwatch

Bambi says Brightcove is going after a lot of things all at the same time. No disagreement there. She makes the comparison between Brightcove and Google. She says much like Google, Brightcove is a destination site, an aggregator and a distributor. But then she starts talking about advertisers. Her  attempt to explain Brightcove’s advertising play is a bit complicated. I had to watch it a few times before I think I grasped what she is saying. If you do watch the video, I’d be curious in what you come away with after watching it.

She also talks about the potential problems ahead, as Brightcove’s business strategy looks so broad that it may end up serving as competitive to its partner interests.

She thinks the new destination or public portal strategy is a good one — but she wonders if aggregating all that content to a Brightcove destination will alienate BrightCove’s many corporate publishing and broadcast clients.

Brian Havens, Forrester Research

Brian Havens discusses how their own research is showing that pre-roll adverising in online videos are annoying to consumers. They want a direct experience. Fifteen second ads are just too much for people when they are online. With TV, consumers really have little choice. They have to wait. But online, the interaction is provided in the experience, which entirely alters the viewing perspective. And you have the issue of rocket speed consumption. People do not seem to mind as much the ads going alongside the video. But it needs to be contextual.

Recentlty, advertisers have turned their focus to become the producers, actually making informative and humoruous spots. These are advertisments but packaged as spots people like to watch. This reminds me of my days in Paris when I’d go to the cinema. I went a lot. Paris is one of the great film centers of the world. In Paris, there are two start times for a film. The first time represents when the ads run. The second time is when the actual film begins. I’d try to get to the cinema early to watch those ads. They were often humorous, romantic or adventurous. They were ads. But they were stories, too. They were French. Ahhh…les jolies filles!

I expect this trend will continue where the advertisers will become storytellers, mixing their brand into short ads that are humorous, informative and in context. I’d far prefer this to pre-rolls. These ads should be part of the flow, the river of video that we watch.

We are smarter than we once were. TV ads don’t work online. There is so much to watch on the Internet. Compelling creations by advertisers are welcome because they are respected for the work that they are.

So many more videos to watch! Go check them out at!

Dynamically Updating Rich Media Ads

November 1, 2006

As a frugal web advertiser, I’d like to keep our ads fresh with dynamic content updates.  Publish once to the ad network, update the ad content whenever I want, and the published ad automatically updates in realtime, everywhere it exists. 

This works pretty well with text ads in Google AdSense.  But I need the same flexibility and ease of use in my banner, flash, and video ads.  Swap out an image, change the background music, add the new the video, update the text, keep it fresh.

Kim and I were discussing our pre-launch SplashCast advertising strategy today.  Bemoaning how limiting static banner and flash ads can be, both of us simultaneously yelled over to our programmers, “So how many hours until beta?  We need it now!”

Dynamically updated rich media advertising, yet another SplashCast possibility.  Coming Soon (how soon, guys???)