In Depth

Daisy's Digital Diary: March 3, 2008

I’ve always been an ad apologist.

Maybe it’s because I am aware of who ultimately pays my bills.

But lately I have been wondering if I am in the minority or the majority. I wonder this especially when it comes to online video.

Let me explain why. Earlier this week I was talking to a group of five to six new media experts—producers, writers, podcasters—and they all unanimously agreed that they hate ads in online content. They can’t stand the 30-second spots in front of “Lost” on ABC.com, they abhor overlays on YouTube and other video-sharing sites. Mind you, these overlays really only “lay over” about one-fifth of the video screen. Doesn’t matter, they said. They still can’t stand ‘em.

My take is the ads pay the freight. And specifically the ads pay the freight for the independent content creators of the online world. When online comedy duo Rhett & Link landed iPod repair shop iresq.com as the sponsor for their recent “Dead iPod” video, a number of consumers posted comments on YouTube that the pair was selling out.

Musicians face the same issue when they license a song. Ingrid Michaelson posted a blog entry on her MySpace page when Old Navy inked a deal to use her song “The Way I Am” in its sweater commercial. “Am I selling out?” she asked.

I hope I’m not alone in offering a resounding NO, NO, NO. I want creators to make money and keep creating. I want to Ingrid to make more records, I want Tay Zonday to make more music videos.

So I looked around for some data to back me up.

I found that media agency Media Contacts, in partnership with online measurement firm comScore, released some numbers on our willingness to watch ads online.

On the not so good side, Media Contacts found that half of online video users do not watch online video ads in their entirety

But on the good side, the agency did report that 41% of heavy online video users don’t mind watching ads in front of their favorite shows online. What’s more, only 15% would rather pay a fee to watch online video content than watch ads in front of that content.

As for me, I’ll keep slogging through the ads.