The rise of Hulu and other network sites has had the effect of normalizing the watching of long-form video online. The MediaPost Research Brief reported two weeks ago indicates that users are interacting with more long-form video. Even more telling, comScore's June release states that average length of online video consumed increased by 15% between November 2008 and April 2009.
Users are becoming more willing to engage with longer form content, and this is translating into a willingness to consume longer advertisements; when given the choice, over 88% of Hulu users prefer to watch fewer but longer ads.
Although this trend seems motivated by users feeling the pain of more frequent, short-form advertisements, it isn't confined to users within interruption-based advertising systems like Hulu.
A few weeks ago at Internet Week, I was discussing the preliminary results of a campaign from a popular soda brand. The company had created a video spot that was two minutes long and called out its involvement in a niche sport. It had not targeted outreach to members of that niche community, which I thought was ill-conceived, until I heard that over 20% of its 250,000 viewers watched 100% of the video.
By broadening the targeting requirements, the brand was able to lower media-buying costs, increase distribution, and execute a successful campaign without having to rely on traditional interruption-based advertising.
In the end, we are dealing with a new system, one that more closely aligns the goals of the consumer with the goals of the advertiser. As marketers begin to accept that their audience wants choice in what it pays attention to, they are realizing, conversely, the benefits associated with providing that choice, along with incentives to pay attention to the brand.
As my mother always said, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.