ABC.com Testing Multiple Commercials For Online TV Episodes

Disney-ABC Television Group plans to test viewer reaction to the presence of multiple commercials within long-form online videos on its ABC.com streaming media player, THR reports. It’s fairly standard for videos sites like Hulu to run only one marketer/one commercial between breaks in full-length streaming episode. Albert Cheng, EVP, digital media at DATG, concedes that viewer tolerance might not extend beyond the one-ad-per-pod model for online video, but he also feels that given the nascent stage of the format, it’s premature to accept this rule as set in stone.

Raising CPMs: On average, the major TV networks charge about $25 CPMs, with $40 CPMs commanded by highly rated shows. Most video sites are in line with those figures, though the larger sites tend to command much higher prices by dint of the greater target viewers. By offering a series of ads, ABC.com hopes it can take advantage of that and wrest more revenues out of its online videos. ABC.com has been particularly aggressive in trying out different paths from CBS (NYSE: CBS) and NBC over the past two years. It initially resisted syndication when its rivals quickly embraced that distribution model, though ABC.com eventually switched gears on that front. Still, ABC.com was the first of the major TV nets to run full-length episodes online, starting with shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Lost

Better targeted ads: The key to pulling off this gambit depends on marketers being able to create ads better suited to the internet, Cheng tells THR. That means not running repackaged TV spots. ABC research claims that it found significantly higher responsiveness to spots that had an interactive component, like casual gaming. In the end, if the research says that multiple ads don’t work, Cheng promises that ABC.com will readily abandon the strategy.

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