Friday, December 14, 2007

Web video advertisements

like most people in the world today, I am an avid user and huge fan of the Internet. Rarely does a day go by with out some sort of interaction with the web, e-mail or a quick IM or two. On a regular day YouTube and videos from news outlets take up lots of time as well. An that, friends, is why I'm here today. The average news clip on CNN, AP videos, FOX etc. is about one minute long. The average advertisement attached to the beginning of that video is 30 seconds.
Now, as a (sometimes) blogger, I know how important it is to get revenue from digital content. If everyone turned their TVs off forever half of the web would go dark because the major content providers still get their money from TV advertising. I understand that there has to be a bit of a trade-off if I want to watch content online, not pay for it and do it legally. The problem that I have with web adverts enters when I'm spending half as much time viewing them as I a spend looking at the content.
This is simply another example of what the greater majority of content producers know about the Internet. They constantly try to assign properties to the Internet that should be reserved for TV. Thirty-second ads? As Brian Fellows would say: "That's Crazy!" Thirty seconds is half of an eternity on the web. It works fine for TV, because the medium is rife with opportunities to catch sandwich makers, and bathroom breakers before or after their journey. Ever wonder why there are two of the same ads during the same break? People get up, move around and eventually come back to the sofa. The internet isn't much like that. Unless someone is downloading an entire episode or waiting for a slow connection the content is instantly available. it appears, is consumed, and the watcher moves on. An entire, TV quality, 30 second embedded video file simultaneously reduces the chances that an individual will view the content behind the AD, and devalues that same content.
TV advertisers have slowly began to realize this with the traditional medium. Fifteen second and less spots are showing up more frequently. Some spots are broken up into several shorter mystery commercials that are aired throughout the program. When all the parts have aired, they equal one long interesting bit of advertising. That, ladies and Gentlemen, is where video web ads need to go. Five or six 10 second spots spread around the web like pieces of a geocache puzzle. Advertisers will want to throw in a hint or puzzle piece in each segment that directs you to their website, (and they will) but the novelty is that there will be something to look for. If, for example, Honda's website says that there is a series of 10 second ads out on the web with a transforming civic battling space Nazis--I'd try to find it. The deal is sweetened for content producer and advertiser alike as I wander from site to site doing and watching the things I normally do, but hoping to catch a glance of Civic-bot shooting lasers at a giant swastika-shaped space station. I'd watch it. . . wouldn't you?

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Faking Normality. The one place we don't do it. All is not well. The world is not coming to an end. Don't fake normality, achieve it.