Portals Step Up With Broadcasters To Meet Growing Online Video Ad Demand

Don't you just love it when a plan comes together, just like the A Team (if you're a millennial, ask your parents)? Or at least, don't you just love it when two things are developing and coming together?

On the one hand, we have two out of three marketers telling the IAB, in research published today, that they intend to put more money into online video advertising next year and expect to roughly put the same amount into conventional television as they did this year. So online video is up, while television is around about the same. Then on the other hand, you have the likes of Yahoo yesterday announcing a bunch of new programmes, including a partnership with Simon Cowell. 

The argument among marketers as to why online video advertising wasn't taking off more quickly a year or two ago always centered around the problem that there wasn't enough quality inventory. Television was made for television, and when it became available for on-demand services there was just a pre-roll or two available and a limited audience. Now that people are increasingly becoming accustomed to catch-up and on-demand service, that is obviously changing -- but what is also developing is a raft of bespoke content made primarily with online audiences in mind. 

Everyone kind of knew that Yahoo had big plans, but I must admit to being surprised that yesterday's announcements of a DJ talent-spotting competition, run with Simon Cowell, was one of 55 series Yahoo has commissioned. That's a pretty surprising number, isn't it? AOL announced 16 new shows this time last year, including the HuffPost Show, which began this month.

It was the fact that this wasn't mentioned when the Top Gear debacle unfolded that really struck me as odd. That the three motoring show presenters would look to stick together and launch a programme outside of the BBC was not a huge surprise. That even seasoned commentators should only trot out traditional broadcasters such as Sky and Channel 4 was odd. I only saw one media commentator throw in the Yahoo name during an interview, and a couple or more wondered aloud about Netflix. Maybe these people don't have kids, like mine, who watch shows they have heard about from friends on a portal or on Netflix which have never been 'televised' yet are hugely popular.

This is all in its infancy, of course, and we await to hear what sort of figures a Yahoo or AOL show can lay claim to while the vast majority of television watching is of the very normal living-room variety we're all used to. However, there is growing momentum behind shows originating beyond the traditional broadcast channels and there is only going to be more demand for premium online video advertising slots.

So it looks like we have the perfect conditions for a spot of disruption as shows originate online and advertisers are keen to advertise alongside decent-quality video entertainment. Of course, the lion's share will be the big television hits being shown again on catch-up services and on-demand platforms. However, there is something starting to happen here. Advertisers are demanding more ad spots against premium online video entertainment and the portals are stepping in to provide it, alongside the traditional big names in commercial television.

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