Just An Online Minute... Report: TV's Move Online Adds Viewers

by , Jan 24, 2007, 3:15 PM
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Broadband use has proliferated in recent years and one of the main beneficiaries has turned out to be the TV industry.

Nielsen Analytics reported this morning that broadband video "extends the reach of traditional TV." As TV networks have started streaming shows for viewing on PCs and video iPods, the TV audience is growing. "Household viewing has risen more than an hour a day over the past decade -- or more than a half hour more per person," Nielsen stated.

Nielsen's conclusions shouldn't be surprising to those who have followed online media. Almost two years ago, Yahoo and Mediaedge:cia released research showing that 37% of broadband users were "meshing" TV and the Web by going online to look up Web sites related to TV programming. And that was before TV networks routinely offered free streams of shows.

Larry Gerbrandt, senior vice president, general manager of Nielsen Analytics, also made a plug for pre-roll ads in the report. Such ads "are potentially superior to existing models because they can take full advantage of the digital environment," he said in a statement. He also touted the ability to disable online fast-forwarding.

But some in the online media industry disagree with him about both the benefits of pre-roll and whether forcing consumers to sit through an ad is a good idea. Google, for one, has gone on record as saying that pre-roll ads tend to make for a bad user experience. Too, Curt Hecht, chief digital officer at Starcom MediaVest Group's GM Planworks, suggested at a conference last December that the less intrusive post-roll format could ultimately become a more successful model than pre-rolls.

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