Authentication: More Ads You Can’t Skip Through

A new survey from Solutions Research Group found that 73 percent of Time Warner and Comcast subscribers polled thought the idea of their authentication plans (TV Everywhere and OnDemand Online, respectively), which will provide more premium video content online at no extra charge to paying TV subscribers, were either an “excellent” or a “good” idea. We wonder if those respondents knew that authentication wasn’t just bringing a host of new television programming to the web; it’s bringing all the TV ads along with it.

My Boys

We first learned of this ad frequency increase earlier this week when we spoke to CBS Interactive President Quincy Smith. CBS is the first traditional broadcaster participating in the OnDemand Online trial, and Smith said that one of the hurdles the program needs to overcome is getting consumers used to seeing more ads with their web video programming.

The Wall Street Journal follows up this morning with a story about how shows from OnDemand Online participant Turner, including My Boys and The Closer, will both carry their full load of ads from traditional TV, which is more than four times as many ads than the typical ad load on many sites. And as a bonus (for advertisers), the ads can’t be skipped.

The idea of upping the number of ads isn’t a new one. Earlier this year ABC found that users didn’t mind seeing double the number of ads (eight vs. four) during an online broadcast of an hour-long TV show. And NBC CEO Jeff Zucker has been banging his “digital dimes for analog dollars” mantra about the disparity between old and newteevee.

How will this industry push towards more ads impact Hulu, which has achieved stratospheric growth in part because of the few ads it shows? A Hulu rep tells the Journal that its focus is on increasing ad effectiveness and revenue rather than frequency. Good luck with that, since Hulu is owned by both NBC and ABC.

There is a chance that online video won’t need as many ads as television. Online video ads can command higher CPMs than their traditional TV counterparts, so you wouldn’t need as many. Though part of that higher CPM is due to less ad clutter. As Smith told us during our interview, there is a long-term possibility of relying more on ad targeting than frequency. Hulu itself is delving deeper into behavioral targeting by bringing on AudienceScience to improve the effectiveness of the portal’s video ads.

But until then, meet the newteevee, same as the oldteevee.


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