Brian Stelter at The New York Times reported late last year online video viewers may be willing to suffer through more advertising than television network executives originally anticipated. Studies conducted by Turner Broadcasting and The CW Network found a significant increase in online video ad load doesn’t relate to much of a decrease in online video viewership.
The main takeaway from the article and reports is we should expect to see more online video ads in the future. A lot more. And we are.
According to comScore’s just-released December 2010 U.S. Online Video Rankings, Hulu delivered 1,227,929,000 video ads for the month. Everyone who watched Hulu in December also spent an average of 217.1 minutes consuming content on the site and saw approximately 47.1 video ads. That means your everyday consumer of Hulu watched one video ad every 4 minutes and 37 seconds. That’s a 15% increase in the frequency of ads served by Hulu in just three months! comScore’s October 2010 U.S. Online Video Rankings showed your everyday consumer of Hulu watched one video ad every 5 minutes and 27 seconds.
The frequency at which YouTube delivers ads is up, too.
comScore reports Google Sites delivered 223,842,000 ads in December. Your average Google Sites viewer watched 274.3 minutes of online video and was exposed to 4.8 video ads. That means your everyday consumer of YouTube watched approximately one video ad every 57 minutes and 8 seconds, which is nearly a 14% increase in the frequency of video ads served by Google in just three months! comScore’s October 2010 U.S. Online Video Rankings showed your everyday consumer of YouTube watched one video ad every 66 minutes and 14 seconds.
If Hulu and YouTube keep increasing their ad frequencies at the same rate, by December 2011 you’ll be watching one ad on Hulu every 2 minutes and 24 seconds and one ad on YouTube every 31 minutes and 16 seconds. YouTube certainly has room to increase the rate at which they serve ads, but Hulu might be getting close to a sweet spot.
Hulu’s CEO Jason Kilar has long been a strong proponent of advertising quality over quantity (at the industry conference NewTeeVee Live he said, “When it comes to the amount of advertising, lighten up.”), and Hulu’s Ad Selector advertising unit is working to make online video advertising a more targeted, user-engaged experience. But don’t expect Kilar and his crew at Hulu not to test the boundaries of what the online video viewing masses with tolerate.
More advertising generally means a better bottom line. Hulu, and every other online video site that pays its bills with checks from online video advertisers, will keep increasing the rate at which it delivers video ads until it finds a happy medium between revenue and user experience.
I’m guessing Hulu will settle in at delivering ads somewhere around the rate at which men can run a mile, but how much advertising do you think you could tolerate?