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A&E Exec: Having Fewer Ads Online Was “A Huge Mistake”

Viacom’s (s VIA) decision to pull The Daily Show off Hulu was on everyone’s mind at InteractiveTV Today’s TV of Tomorrow Show that began today in San Francisco. Mark Garner, A&E Television’s senior VP of distribution, marketing and business development, expressed sympathy for the move, saying that it was a clear sign of the space being under-monetized. “There is probably a critical mass of users,” he said, “but there is certainly not a critical mass of money.”

Hulu (s ge) (s dis) (s nws) announced yesterday that it won’t be able to carry The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and other Viacom shows anymore and that existing shows will disappear off the site next Tuesday, March 9. Viacom apparently wasn’t happy with the ad revenue Hulu was bringing in; the network is going to exclusively distribute the shows through its own web properties going forward. Garner said that advertising on over-the-top delivery platforms like Hulu would continue to be a problem going forward. “We conditioned people to expect fewer ads, which I think was a huge mistake,” he said, adding that over the top was leading the charge on this.

Boxee CEO Avner Ronen struck a more optimistic tone, saying that the industry should stop holding on to existing models. He called the current move to online delivery “the best thing that happened to the media business,” adding that many of the existing problems like ad skipping on DVRs would disappear with online delivery. “The DVR is dying,” he said, “but that’s good news.”

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7 Responses to “A&E Exec: Having Fewer Ads Online Was “A Huge Mistake””

  1. Tired of Boxee

    Dude… enough of the Boxee PR show. Fix your product and get this “so-called” Boxee Box launched. Where is the revenue for this smoke and mirrors company?

  2. As a content producer, aggregator & consumer we are in quite a conundrum. I myself DVR past those annoying ads, but on the other hand it is also those annoying ads that pay for the shows we produce.

    No advertising revenue = no shows. Someone has to pay the bills.

    So what how can we take away ads from the consumer that doesnt want ads (but still wants to know about cool new products), and still pay the bills?

    They guy who solves that catch 22 will be a very wealthy man. Guess paid subscriptions or brand integration is the new future of advertising?

    • Too much ad inventory is being created. When it doesn’t sell it is being dumped for very low prices. The people with obnoxious ads buy these unsold spots. This can get extremely annoying to the consumer. I have seen ad, PSA, same ad, PSA, same ad on cable channels. That guarantees a channel flip out of me or a DVR skip. I am being trained to flip the moment an ad appears. More and more I simply turn the TV off and switch to the Internet.

      Less inventory sold at higher prices is the solution. The value equation of annoyance vs entertainment has shifted so that my consumption of TV has fallen off greatly.

  3. “that many of the existing problems like ad skipping on DVRs” and we should all be forced to watch obnoxious ads for products we will never buy.

    One day I tracked ads being displayed to me on the Internet. 768 ads in a single day. Like I’m going to waste my time looking at 768 ads a day. My recall for those ads was zero.

    Fewer is better. People might pay attention to fewer, higher quality ads.