Online video ad revenues in the US are on track to pass $1.3 billion this year. That’s a big industry, but when compared to the behemoth $70 billion business that is traditional television advertising, it’s little more than a rounding error.
There are a number of reasons why online video advertising isn’t as big as its TV counterpart. It’s still new media. It doesn’t yet have the established, reach, infrastructure, and ancillary industries to support such massive expenditures, which years of trial, error, and evolution provide. It’s also lacking in standards.
Since 1940, TV has fine-tuned its moneymaking processes with a basic, standardized format involving commercial spots. It’s only been five years since YouTube hit browser windows and, so far, no one can agree on what an online video commercial looks like. But the heads of major video publishing companies and advertising firms appear to be coming to some semblance of a consensus.
The Ad Selector (ASq) is the favored format among advertising agency, Starcom MediaVest Group and video publishers Hulu, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, CBS, Discovery and BBE. Created by Hulu, The Ad Selector is essentially “pre-roll with benefits,” and gives users the opportunity to select their commercial experience before watching their desired program. The format was chosen after a massive media research project – which lasted 16 months, consisted of 230,000 hours of research, and is dubbed “The Pool” – indicated it was the most successful of the 29 different ad models tested.
Now that The Pool has decided on The Ad Selector, the only thing left is to get the rest of the internet on board.
Meetings will take place with YouTube this week in an attempt to get the largest video site on the web – which accounts for over 40% of all online video views – to adopt the format. Whether or not YouTube jumps in – it’s thought to be “going its own way” testing its own commercial formats – the way we view advertisements online will soon become a little more uniform. That’s a good thing.
A standard ad format is important for both advertisers and ad agencies. There needs to be some basis from which you can measure the efficacy of ad campaigns and define advertising rates. Plus, brands like them.