A Serious Online Advertising Problem Continued - Shelly Palmer - MediaBizBlogger

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Last week I wrote a short missive about a problem I was having with a very vocal minority of my daily MediaBytes video viewers regarding a pre-roll ad. Apparently, making money with online video is a very hot topic, as evidenced by the several thousand email responses to the article. (You can read last week's entire article, which fully articulates the problem, here.)

My staff sliced and diced the email comments and found that the overwhelming majority of MediaBytes with Shelly Palmer viewers would be willing to pay :11 seconds for 2 minutes of content? Here the exec summary:

Can MediaBytes have any advertising?
90% say yes, 10% say no.

Would you pay a subscription fee to view MediaBytes without advertising?
77% yes, 13% no. (no one offered to write a check, of course)

Would MediaBytes be OK with a third party sponsor?
78% yes, 22% no.

Where should the ad be placed?
38% pre-roll, 32% post-roll, 30% say short pre-roll teaser and a post-roll ad.

Before I get into specific example comments and show you some of your thoughtful suggestions, I have a confession to make. When I'm on the road, I have to do all of MediaBytes myself. This is a 3.5 hour job. I get the data points from my researchers, but, not only do I have to write the script, I have to do 100% of the production, post-production, encoding and uploading from the remote location. The raw files are simply too big to send via hotel broadband connections.

When I'm on the road, in order to save time, I always use the previous day's Video Editing File as a template. Anyone who has ever done a large amount of video editing knows where this is going.

I was on the road for 10 days, I was tired and I didn't have the wherewithal to create a new ad each day, so I just left the pre-roll in place and worked on the body of the show. The result is about 10 shows in a row with exactly the same :11 second pre-roll commercial. Beyond annoying ... even for me.

The primary lesson to be learned from this experience is a lesson I learned years ago -- and know all too well: "The audience doesn't care what your issues are, or were, when they press play. They're expecting your best work." This dialog was brought about by my willingness to do less than my best work. I have no excuse.

If I were a MediaBytes viewer, I would have written a serious email to the jerk who produced the show and told him to freshen the damn ad or get rid of it. So, to all of you who said that -- I could not agree more.

That being said, I saw the opportunity to start a conversation with each and every one of you on this topic. MediaBytes is branded content for me and I translate its value into wealth by selling my services as a consultant, author, keynote speaker, moderator, etc. I don't need to incorporate any advertising into MediaBytes, I just need it to find the right audience.

On the other hand, what if I did need to fund MediaBytes with advertising? What would I have to do?

Here's what you had to say:

Thoughtful Suggestions:

· Discuss a tip which can be inserted in Mediabytes a few times or once a week with the intention of previewing some of the information available in the videos (BTW: This is exactly what I did the previous week.)

· Have another person (girl) do the voiceover for the ZioPro ad. The latter was suggested in several responses with the assumption that distancing me from the advertisement makes it seem more legitimate.

· Create several DIFFERENT short ads that are randomly shown pre-roll or post-roll

· Create a lower third tune-in-ad like YouTube now uses, so users can click out of it if they are not interested.

· Consider the frequency of the ad, many responders said that using the same add annoyed them.

· Insert a 3 second teaser pre-roll then a full post-roll ad

Notable Quotes:

"I think suicide is the only legitimate remaining option. If you go that route, can I have your mac?" – Marty Y.

"I wanted to say, put an ad at the end of the video, but I see you have already done that in newer videos. Taking people's valuable time before you give them anything of value is bad business model in my opinion. Give first than take." –"bub"

"Somehow you have to distance yourself from the ad content, or it will look, feel, and sound like a shameless plug, and that is why I believe your audience has responded negatively." –Adam K.

"It's hyping the video series that makes you look like a huckster, not the fact that you accept advertising. You've implied that MediaBytes is all the promotion the Shelly Palmer brand really needs--so find yourself a sponsor instead. Few reasonable people would begrudge you making a buck off of MediaBytes." -- Pedro

"It's the parallel line of logic that has mortally wounded the already self-inflicted, negligence of print media. The solution? Fostering a new grown-up culture of defining "value" and debating the "trust and responsibilities" within consumer/provider relationships. But that reciprocal give- and- take goes deep, to the very core of capitalism/consumerism -- what is worth, worth?" –Crystal H.

"You are right we should not expect a free ride - I have unsubscribed. Thank You" – Sharron N.

"For those dopes who say it cheapens it there is a simple solution – make it more expensive. Let them pay 10 bucks a month, a year whatever for the pleasure of having no advertising. And to think these people are probably in the media business." –Seth H.

"I have no problem with the concept of you promoting your self-generated products on your website. The problem comes with the repetition. Since it only comes at me once a day, it is not as irritating as the "Scottrade" barrage I'm forced to endure on Yahoo.news. After a few times of seeing the full 11 seconds of 101, I get it. After that, I only need to see 1.4 seconds of the ad to remember the gist. If there were 15 varieties of the commercial, I might be able to live with it serenely. Consider pulling 8 second sound bytes from the 101 content, punctuated with a 3 second tag line. Make up a whole bunch of them and put them in random rotation." –Rick B.

"I watch your show pretty regularly. In fact it is one of only two Internet shows I do that with, the other being GeekBrief. I find your take very interesting and worth my 2 minutes a day. I am unfortunately not in a position to ever hire you for consulting, so my opinion may mean less than others. But 11 seconds of "advertising", when the advertising relates directly to what you do, is nothing. People can't expect valuable content to be free…" –Patrick C.

"Give those folks an opportunity to buy your daily show for $.30 a day ($60/ year?) for the ad free version. As for me, I'm a cheapo who will watch the ads." -Sam N.

"1. Keeping the ads at the end and in the links to the right (or wherever they may be where you syndicate content). Same way your Digital Workshop was promoted.

2. Add to the above a 3 second teaser at the beginning of the 2 minute segment along the lines of: "Interested in Video Training for Facebook, stay tuned to till the end of this 2 minute segment" or "This non-interrupted segment is followed by a promo to Facebook training". The former can be part of your spill after introducing yourself. The latter may work better even before the segment launches, narrated by someone else (Hulu Stle)." –Gaddy R.

"Making sure folks sit thro your ad before they get the message is very much old television-think." –Dan O.

"Advertising is the lifeblood of media. It is what allows the Internet, radio, television and print to exist. That isn't going to end; and those that complain that advertising is annoying should ask themselves how much they are willing to pay to watch Lost, Grey's Anatomy and the Daily Show each week." –Bill N.

Thank you to the thousands of people who responded to the first article. I think we have an opportunity as a group to continue this discussion. Please feel free to post comments or send me emails. This is a topic worth discussing!

Shelly Palmer is the host of MediaBytes with Shelly Palmer, a daily show featuring news you can use about technology, media & entertainment. He is the author of Television Disrupted: The Transition from Network to Networked TV (2008, New York House Press) and the upcoming, Get Digital: Reinventing Yourself and Your Career for the 21st Century Economy. (2009, Lake House Press). Shelly is also President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, NY (the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy Awards). For information about Get Digital Classes, visit http://www.shellypalmer.com/seminars

Read all Shelly’s MediaBizBlogger commentaries at Shelly Palmer - MediaBizBlogger.

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