Online video viewers want ads their way

A huge 88% of Hulu viewers have opted-in to view a 2-minute ad shown prior to the presentation rather than several 30-second ads during any 22-minute program. While long-form ads aren’t commonplace on Hulu, the recent data seems to suggest that offering viewers the option gives them the control they crave. It could be assumed that by choosing which ads they see, viewers will be more engaged with those ads.

Overall, 93% of Hulu’s site users said that they thought the site had the right amount of ads in exchange for free video viewing.

“The opt-in rate is proving this is something people want,” said Christina Lee, a Hulu spokeswoman.

“We are trying to break down a lot of these very traditional ways of thinking about advertising, so this is a way to experiment and an example of something you’ll see us doing,” Lee added.

Another study, this time from IBM, adds clout to Hulu’s findings. IBM found that, on average, 70% of global respondents preferred ad-supported online video models as opposed to consumer-paid. Their data also pointed to the preference of non-interrupted online viewing with pre- and post-roll ads favored by the majority.

“Consumers have grown accustomed to accessing new forms of content through alternative sources, such as online video and video-on-demand, at no cost to them — no fee, with very limited advertising shown,” said Saul Berman, Global Lead Partner, Strategy & Change Consulting, IBM Global Business Services. “The industry must find appealing ways to monetize new content sources or risk a similar fate as that of the music industry where value shifted away from core players.”

Nov 25, 2008 | 05:11 am


Kristina Knight is a freelance writer based in Ohio, United States. She began her career in radio and television broadcasting, focusing her energies on health and business reporting. After six years in the industry, Kristina branched out on her own. Since 2001, her articles have appeared in Family Delegate, Credit Union Business, and with Threshold Media.