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Starting next month, a number of large websites — including MSNBC, Hulu, Yahoo and AOL properties — are set to roll out video ads that allow users to choose which ad they'd like to see before the content they want to watch.
The new format could make users a lot happier with the ads they view online. But more importantly, it will give the sites publishing these ads important insight into which ads work and which don't. But will users enjoy serving as a focus group for internet publishers?
If there was any doubt among media buyers about putting money into online video advertising, 2010 should be the year to change that. Consumers are increasingly turning to the digital space to watch video. Moreover, the influx of professionally produced content is making the digital space more friendly to large advertisers.
As with most any medium, if the eyeballs are there, advertisers will follow. Now it's just up to the medium to deliver on the predictions coming in for the next year.
Get ready for Hulu Plus. According to The LA Times, Hulu will soon roll out its subscription service, with additional content for paid subscribers in the form of extra episodes of shows that are now available on the site.
Hulu is smart to leave the current content on the site available for free. But is the site providing the right kind of freemium content with this plan? Asking consumers to pay $120 a year for old episodes of free shows looks pretty steep. And it still could fall short of revenue targets needed for Hulu to survive.
News Corp. and Hulu have been talking a lot about ways they could charge for Hulu content of late. But two months into 2010, we have little word on how that will come to fruition (except a rumor that iPad users will have to pay to watch Hulu). Well, video upstart Boxee has a few ideas.
Last month the digital video provider announced plans to charge for its content. And today, Beet.TV has a video of Boxee CEO Avner Ronen explaining some of the details.
If anything, maybe this could help Hulu open up and let Boxee have access to its video again.
Video portal Hulu is quickly trying to make good on its promise to charge for content, but as of yet no one is talking about what a premium Hulu product will look like.
After rumors surfaced about a two tiered subscription model earlier this week, Disney EVP Kevin Mayer came out to say that “no decisions have been made” on Hulu Premium. That's too bad, because there are plenty of ways the Hulu could successfully charge for money. It's just not clear that News Corp. will go ahead with them.
Thirty billion - that's a lot of videos. In fact, it's an all-time record for videos viewed online in the U.S., when online video views actually approached a number closer to 31 billion in November. With over 12 billion videos viewed, Google sites accounted for the lion's share of all that goggling. Overall, more than 170 million viewers watched an average 182 videos each.
comScore Video Metrix, which released these figures, also found Hulu achieving new highs with 924 million video views. The average Hulu viewer watched 21.1 videos that, another record for the property. Google video viewers watched an impressive 94.7 videos each on average, however it's notable that the overwhelming majority of these were on YouTube, which generally tends to feature much shorter clips.
Network television is moving forward with TV Everywhere, its plan to move television content online, but it looks like there are more than a few aspects of television broadcasting that executives are not willing to forgo — namely the ad load.
At the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing Summit in Denver this week, cable executives made it clear that TV Everywhere will not be a "Hulu for cable."
And why would it be? Hulu works.
Hulu made its name by turning a seemingly bad business idea into a widely popular website. Before the site launched, techies dubbed the television network focused web venture "Clown Co." And for the past two years, Hulu has impressed many with the quality of its content and viewing experience.
But as advertising revenues have dropped and his other properties flounder, Rupert Murdoch has been dropping hints that the company will soon charge for access.
News Corp. Deputy Chairman Chase Carey laid it on the line this week, saying that Hulu will begin charging for content in 2010. Putting Hulu's video collection behind a paywall has the potential to choke off its viewership and tank a thriving business. That said, the potential to charge a subscription fee is clearer getting News Corp. hot and bothered. So here are a few ideas that Hulu could use when it starts charging for content next year.
Due to the runaway popularity of Hulu, many different publishers are hoping to tap into a similar model for sharing their content online. The latest proposal is a "Hulu for magazines" idea lobbied by Time Inc. The new service would bundle magazine content from various publishers into a storefront that can deliver content to various devices.
Here's a problem with that. Hulu doesn't make money right now. And plans to resuscitate the magazine industry by following its business model may be, well, a little premature.
This week, Nielsen announced its new "Internet Meter" will be available by the end of the year. But it won't actually be useful until 2011. And the cable companies' plans for TV Everywhere are likely to be put off until 2014. While television companies are talking a lot about putting their premium content online, it could be awhile before this becomes serious business.
Rupert Murdoch is going all in on paid content. The News Corp. head anounced yesterday during an earnings call that all of his publications will be charging for access within this fiscal year.
The announcement has been met with both derision and excitement. Charging for news content has the potential to shrink audience numbers and choke ad revenue. But as publications struggle to find the right revenue model, Murdoch's decision could pave the way for other organizations that have been talking a lot about charging online but doing little about it.
So will News Corp. sink or swim with its plans to charge for content? The answer, as with anything: it depends on execution.
Online video viewing is set to reach a milestone next year according to eMarketer. Numbers released this week show that half of Americans will watch online video next year.
But there needs to be a categorical shift of viewers online if the web video hopes to make the kinds of revenue that are seen offline.