The Paradox of Video Pre-Roll

Nothing has been able to supplant video pre-roll as the dominant video ad format. This ClickZ article says that advertisers are defaulting to pre-roll in the media recession as a “tried and true” format.

That’s despite lots of empirical evidence that consumers don’t like it. I can tell you that from a personal standpoint I mute it or click away when pre-roll appears. My daughter has been watching lots of the Olympics coverage online and the volume of pre-roll advertising that NBC is pumping into the video is totally obnoxious. In every single instance we mute the ads.

Yet it would appear to be here to stay given the inability of anyone else to come up with a viable replacement. Even YouTube is reportedly going to introduce it after a much-publicized launch last year of “overlays” that were supposed to avoid the consumer experience disruptions of pre-roll.

6 Responses to “The Paradox of Video Pre-Roll”

  1. Daniel Jaeger Says:

    Every product has a price and for advertising supported products the price to the consumer is attention and time. I would think that TV and Radio advertising is equally disliked by consumers (by me for sure). While there might be better, to be discovered, ways of monetizing video than pre-roll, I believe there will always be situations where user experience and the need for a viable business lead to trade-offs.

    One reason that advertising works so well in the local / general search space is that often times people are actually looking to buy things and are therefore very open to advertising.

    People who watch video online (or off) want to be entertained, advertising is a distraction from their goal. Therefore integrating an advertising model with user goals is a lot more challenging.

  2. BrianGM Says:

    One day, someone will invent a killer app for all media marketing that will be able to give control to the target audience. Kinda like TIVO, except for everything!

  3. Dan Says:

    Pre-roll is annoying, but it probably pays the bills. I guess, I don’t really know.

    I remember a time when there were shows on TV that had sponsors such as TEXACO. The host would say welcome to TEXACO Theater etc. This would work well in video format for episodic online shows like Cooking Up A Story or even our own DanTraveling Series, or maybe even a ROCKETBOOM daily news type.

    Unfortunately the numbers just don’t add up for companies to do so. If you can spend $10,000 a month on online advertising, would you rather have millions of possible impressions? or tens of thousands specific mentions in one video? I think moeny follows numbers, so the pre-roll must work in some way.

  4. A Comment about Pre-Roll Video Ads « A Fuller View Says:

    […] this post by Greg Sterling on the paradox of video pre-roll and these two on ClickZ here (pre-roll wins…) and here (… making them work)reminded […]

  5. Joffre Says:

    Great post…I’m kind of new to the pre-roll video but your post sheds new light on the whole thing for me.



  6. Brian Says:

    Let’s face it. This is a content/time value balance. If the content provides enough value to the consumer, they will be willing to sit through it. On the flip side, the content provider needs a way to support the content creation. Advertising is the way to do that. The only other option is for the consumer to pay a monthly subscription fee. Perhaps we will end up in that direction, but I believe that PRA’s are here to stay at least for a while.

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