Vessel’s ad format has managed to impress lots of industry executives and creators at VidCon. During a fireside chat with the annual online video conference’s co-founder Hank Green, Vessel CEO Jason Kilar explained how his subscription video platform chose the ad format that people have now raved about in various VidCon panels, despite the overall negative perception of online video advertising.
Green started the discussion about ads by positing the idea that despite advances in digital media, advertising hasn’t innovated at the same pace and generally sticks to a tried and true method of 15 and 30-second spots. Kilar agreed and said Vessel approached its advertising model with that same perspective in mind. The former Hulu CEO said his team asked themselves what they wanted Vessel’s advertising to look like. They decided it had to be beautiful, thoughtful, and most of all respectful of consumers.
“I think along the way, advertisers and advertising companies have lost a little bit of respect in some ways for people’s time and what is appropriate,” Kilar said. The Vessel CEO clarified he does still respect advertising’s role in lowering the price of content so people around the world, no matter their economic situation, can afford to watch quality programming. Kilar said this ad mechanism is exactly why Vessel only has to charge subscribers $2.99 per month. The ads help defer the cost to consumers and provide Vessel creators with a reportedly very nice $50 CPM. Kilar just wants to make those ads better.
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The Vessel CEO said he wanted to approach advertising on the platform differently than before, starting with length. “We think if the content you’re watching on Vessel is shorter format, the ads should be shorter, too,” Kilar explained. So Vessel implemented five-second ads instead of the more traditional 15 and 30-second pre-rolls currently seen on YouTube.
Additionally, Vessel created what Kilar called “motion posters,” which are “beautiful cinematic” ads that only move every so often as a subscriber browses the platform. Kilar said these motion posters replace the traditional banner ads or pop-ups internet users are so used to seeing on other sites.
Vessel takes its honest approach to advertising so seriously that the company custom-builds all ads for its site in-house by collaborating directly with marketers and brand partners. Kilar noted how this is an incredibly difficult and expensive endeavor, but Vessel believes it needs to invest its resources in high-quality ads because the company believes they will resonate with fans and viewers will appreciate the effort.
“It’s the luxury of starting fresh,” Kilar said. “And asking ourselves, ‘What would we as fans want to see?’”
But Green and Kilar weren’t the only ones to talk about their affinity for the ads seen on Vessel. Rich Greenfield, Dean Gilbert, Fred Seibert, Justin Fuisz, and Richard Raddon all lauded the format during part of their discussion on the panel Where Do We Go From Here? – Predictions For The Future. “A few years ago a kid asked me why the ads on YouTube weren’t five seconds long, and then I thought, ‘You know, they probably should be,'” noted Seibert. “An now that’s what Vessel is doing and it makes a whole lot of sense.”