Most Users Okay With Ads in Free Online Video
Of the different video types included in the study, full-length TV shows had the highest acceptance rate of people who felt that it is at least somewhat reasonable to expect advertising, such as commercials, embedded into the free shows. As this online video format most closely matches that of existing, "offline" commercial television, it may not surprise that a full 82 percent of those polled were okay with ads.
As it turns out, for all but one of the six online media types queried about in the study, more than half the people polled felt that the inclusion of advertising was a fair trade-off for access to the free video content. In addition to full-length TV shows, these other online media types include full-length movies, music videos, short news/sports clips, and trailers or previews.
The one online video type that had a lower than 50 percent acceptance rate for included advertising was "amateur or homemade video clips." In this case, only 48 percent of respondents felt that advertising was acceptable. As the study points out, this is the precise video type that has made YouTube so popular:
"This finding is particularly interesting because some video sharing websites, such as YouTube, are beginning to diversify their content offerings to include longer, more professionally produced material that may be supported by advertising. "Ad-subsidized service models will have to be carefully considered by these video sharing websites, since their current audience has grown accustomed to free streams without any advertising," adds [Ipsos MediaCT Director, Adam] Wright. "As advertising starts to appear within their offerings, it has the potential to alter attitudes, perceptions and usage of these sites." Indeed, given its substantial usage levels among today's digital video consumers, YouTube would appear to have a lot at stake as it begins to experiment with ad-subsidized content."
YouTube InVideo Ads
YouTube has been including "InVideo" ads in some of its videos for a while, and the Wall Street Journal reports that Google might start including "preroll" and "postroll" ads in some videos as well:
"Google plans to begin accepting "preroll" and "postroll" ads, which will run before and after some YouTube video clips, according to one person familiar with the matter. The plan under consideration, this person says, would give companies that post video clips the option to sell such ads, and share the revenue with Google. YouTube has long forsworn such ads because consumers don't like them. But advertisers consider them highly effective."
An Advertiser's Guide to YouTube
It will be interesting to see how people react to more invasive ads in the media type that Ipsos found to be the one folks are least likely to accept ads in. However, if the study results are accurate, with almost half of the respondents okay with the ads, the consequences might not be as dire as the study suggests.
We are surprised, actually, at the results of Ipsos's study. We would have thought that far more people would find in-video advertising anathema to online video, regardless of media type or length--with the possible exception of full-length TV shows. We'd like to know how you feel about in-video advertising for free, online video in the comments section below.