Online Video Business to Marketers: Skip All Our Ads!

Skippable ads are all the rage, and now the Interactive Advertising Bureau is jumping on the bandwagon.

The standards body has codified online video ad-skipping, which might seem counterintuitive to a group that wants to promote advertising on the Web. But, on closer inspection, supporting skippability may be a good thing.

The IAB’s new video suite introduced this week, its first update to in-stream video ad standards since 2008, now includes support for "skippable" video ads that let publishers set pricing models based on ads that play to completion and also includes support for pods of ads in a single ad break, “allowing for the creation of viewing experiences similar to broadcast television,” the IAB said.

Why are these good moves? Because online video is moving closer to TV with skippable ads. In the last few weeks, tech firms such as SpotXChange to Solve Media have rolled out features to let users skip online ads. These efforts follow moves by YouTube and Hulu in the last few years to let users skip or choose ads, and suggests we may be moving closer to “choice-based” ads in online video.

While the prospect of skippable ads is becoming a divisive issue in the online video business, it’s also simply inevitable. Technology will almost always deliver workarounds to watching ads, just as industries always seem to serve up workarounds to their own products. Like the phone company introducing caller ID, then call blocking to cancel out its own feature. Or cablers rolling out DVRs that allow ad-skipping, then introducing measurement through Nielsen to incorporate DVR viewing.

Whether you’re for or against skipping ads online, the reality is skipped ads may become the norm. This isn’t a bad thing. TV has started to figure out how to deal with skipped ads. And as online video continues to mimic TV, this medium will figure out how to manage all those skipped ads too.

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2 comments about "Online Video Business to Marketers: Skip All Our Ads!".
  1. Rick Monihan from None , April 11, 2012 at 12:56 p.m.
    Not sure this is precisely true. TV manages because it is a statistical representation of how viewers are watching TV. As a result, they are still capable of monetizing a portion (in some cases, a very large portion) of their audience which is not watching the ads. Online is driven by direct metrics, rather than statistical modeling. The difference, of course, is that if everybody in the TV world stopped watching ads (let's say they all get up and go to the kitchen), the statistical model would still provide support for a viewing audience of the ad itself. If all the online ads are skipped, there is no revenue model because there is nothing to provide support for a monetized viewing audience. The answer would be for online providers to move to a 100% subscriber model in order to avoid having to get advertisers and worry about skipped ads. As a consumer, I can understand the desire to allow users to skip ads - they can be considered an annoyance at times. But this is a call for better creative, not allowing users to skip the ads altogether. The logic behind 'free' viewing is the ability to generate revenue somehow, and we generate it by monetizing views, not by allowing users to skip viewing.
  2. Evan Petty from Snowman Productions, LLC , April 11, 2012 at 1:13 p.m.
    Since the technology to skip ads from somewhere has to be assumed, then it's inevitable that people will avoid ads on-line, just like they do anywhere else. So enabling it and moving to a choice-based system is a good thing. If Clients want their ads to be viewed, then they should Produce better ads. I see this as a long-overdue, but important motivator to producing better creative work by advertisers. In the new media world, if it's no fun to watch, then it won't be seen. It's also going to facilitate the change-over to web TV viewing, which will attract more of advertiser's media budgets, which will then upgrade the quality of content seen on internet channels. A good thing all around.