Lots Up With Video Advertising?

I've been thinking a lot this week about video advertising. Not only did I attend the iMedia Entertainment Summit in Beverly Hills -- you know you're having a Hollywood moment when you find yourself sitting next to John Malkovich at dinner and listening to Jason Calacanis at lunch the following day -- but this has been a big week for online video research. For one, Magid Associates released its Media Futures research, which shows that consumer usage of online video increased more than 50% this year.

It also seems that the money is following usage. Also released this week was Brian Wieser of Magna Global and Universal McCann"s Emerging Media forecast, which is projecting online video advertising growth of more than 50% year over year for both 2007 and 2008.

Plus, at the iMedia conference, I led a roundtable of marketers, agencies and media sellers about what's working and what's not when it comes to video ad units. It was this discussion that got me thinking the most.



Fortunately, we didn't spend our time talking about the ideal duration for pre-roll video ads. That discussion has been beaten into the ground by now. Nor did we discuss the emergence of mid-roll and post-roll ads. Did we talk about the intrusiveness of video advertising? Not much. Did we talk about using static "companion ads" as the best means to accompany video content with commercial messaging? Not much. Instead, we talked mostly about the value of using "content as advertising" for making an impact on consumers in the video world.

What is "content as advertising"? It is the stuff that consumers want and like -- imagine movie trailers and clips of music videos -- that not only entertains and engages consumers, but also creates significant commercial value for the distributor. It is not about sticking commercial messages at the front, middle or end of content that consumers seek, it is about finding content that they want and making it create commercial value for the distributor.

In the technology space, vertical ad network NetShelter has sites with consumer-oriented video reviews of various electronic products that they plan to help publishers monetize with pre-roll spots. Scripps Networks' and run pre-roll ads before short videos of do-it-yourself projects (and add an extra element by enabling visitors to push the shopping list for that project to their mobile devices so they will have it handy at the nearest Home Depot.) Those are examples of content consumers will want.

Certainly video is a mainstay for the entertainment industry. Research has proven that the more folks engage with excerpts of movies or music, the more likely they are to buy it later. Thus, the content itself becomes advertising. In fact, it becomes advertising that people want, not just advertising that they are willing to tolerate.

Will this apply in other verticals? Why or why not? What do you think?

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