Internet ad-supported video looking familiar? To some.
Media studies are showing the online video business, mostly that of TV shows online, seems to be pushing TV advertisers toward -- what else -- a TV-like advertising model. Yes -- and no.
Far and away the most pervasive form of video advertising for premium video content comes with pre-roll advertising -- almost 91% of the time. Mid-roll video -- stuff that comes after a show has started -- makes largely the rest of video advertising, 8% of the time. This area has been growing substantially, according to one recent survey.
What does this say? That online video content is supported in ways very similar to traditional TV -- albeit with mostly shorter length 15-second spots, or much smaller advertising pods (fewer commercials during individual content breaks).
With the absence of banner and rich-media ads, and other messaging not really in the mix in supporting premium online video content, analysts believe online video is looking more like classic advertising-supported TV content all over again.
Still, there are some differences. Forty percent of the traditional TV-viewing public has the ability to fast-forward through commercials. You can't do that with premium TV shows online.
Not only that, but many TV shows never begin with a commercial -- they start with the content, and the first commercial break typically comes after some 10 minutes or so of program content -- typically the longest duration for the show.
All this positions most online TV/video providers as hedging their bets when it comes to increasingly fickle viewers. Their message seems to be this: "Here's some free content. But we are unsure whether or not you might stay. So, here's a pre-roll ad."
Given that 91% of all Internet video supported messaging comes before the first bit of TV programming is seen, this says a lot about the current temperature of viewers online.
The CW, however, will tell you differently. This year, the mini-broadcast network decided to run the exact same levels of advertising per hour on its on its own Web areas-- some 10 to 12 minutes or so -- that is seen for its traditionally delivered TV shows. Network executives will tell you CW's young viewers hang in there longer, viewing all ad messages to virtual completion.
There's more to come, apparently. TV Everywhere proponents -- a number of cable system providers and TV network content owners who support the plan -- predict that total duration levels of traditional TV advertising will be transferred almost completely intact to the digital/Internet world.
Consumer research right now is leaning to the conclusion that viewers believe some sort of advertising is financially necessary for them to screen video -- free or at a discounted rate.
But how far to go? No one wants to drive consumers away to other Web sites, entertainment or media devices, if they get the sense online video is exactly the same -- or worse than -- traditional TV programming when it comes to advertising.