Television Networks to Increase Ads For Online Video

On the heels of a report which found that online ad revenues will likely surpass those of print ads in the next year, television networks are poised to increase the number of ads run during episodes of shows viewed online. Will Richmond of VideoNuze reports that ABC intends to double the amount of advertisements displayed when viewers watch episodes of ABC shows on the network’s website after implementing a similar policy for its iPad app.

According to Richmond, who was briefed by ABC executive Albert Cheng, the network’s iPad app has been downloaded over 800,000 times and has served 4.2 million episodes of video in just over two months since its April 3rd launch. Yesterday, says Richmond, ABC launched a new ad initiative on the app that would double the amount of ads seen during programs in some cases – an adjustment that will soon be seen on as well.

Typically, online episodes contain between 2 and 3 minutes of advertisements while traditional television broadcasts contain roughly 20 minutes for each hour. While the difference in time for ads between TV and online is significant, online ads have been found to be more effective despite being run less frequently. Therefore, it only makes sense that broadcast networks want to increase their online ads.

ABC isn’t the only network making shifts in online ads for viewing television episodes. Just recently, Cartoon Network announced it would also be increasing ad numbers for online video, and other networks are pulling away from stream aggregators like Hulu to have better control over the ads and revenue.

When Hulu and Comedy Central could not agree on revenue splits, the cable channel chose to remove two of the most popular Internet generation television shows – The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Instead, Comedy Central is only allowing viewers to watch these shows on the network’s homepage. Could other networks follow in their footsteps in hopes of gaining more control over advertisements?

Currently, ABC still allows viewers to watch shows both at its homepage and on Hulu, but if it sees decent returns from doubling its ads, it may not hesitate to remove its content from the aggregator. While “Hulu” is becoming a household word for “online video” in the same way “TiVo” and “Kleenex” have evolved to mean “record” and “tissue,” other devices and services are still vying for competition. With set top boxes like the Roku and free services like Boxee, there are plenty of options for networks to syndicate their content and control their advertising.

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