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Streaming Content Sites Favor Advertising Over Subscription

Streaming sites, destinations and aggregators continue to support monetization strategies that contain streaming advertising over subscription by a 60% to 13% margin, based on an analysis of 38 selected and diverse content providers tracked in AccuStream iMedia Research’s Monetization Trac database (see summary table below).

Subscription services in the group of selected sites include AOL+, which does host banner ads surrounding the media player box, but it is primarily subscription based (users have to either subscribe to AOL, or pay AOL a content fee of $14.95/month for access to programming).

Real Networks’ content is both ad-supported and subscription-based, and not included in the summary analysis.

Monetization Strategy Summary Table Totals % Total
Total selected sites, networks and aggregators 38 n/a
Subscription-based services 5 13.2%
Advertising-based services* 25 65.8%
None (or banner-only advertising) 8 21.1%
In-stream advertising** 23 60.5%
Flash Animation 6 15.8%

* = Includes network, site, channel and aggregator in-house promos.
** = Includes gateway, pre-roll, trailer and other in-stream (Flash) media.

Source: AccuStream iMedia Research

The predominate form of in-stream advertising on sites and networks with significant streaming activity is the pre-roll ad unit, which also includes gateway ads that are not necessarily inside the stream, but run prior to the requested content stream.

Java (out-of-media player) avails are now closing in on 90 million impressions delivered per month, and run or have run on slightly under 15% of the sites tracked by AccuStream with some level of streaming advertising inventory, including CNN.com, Sportsline, Eonline and Marketwatch.com.

Flash animation is a particularly popular format most often sold as a pre-roll avail that has a "voice over" element and click opportunity component.

Over 21% of sites selected have no in-stream advertising whatsoever, although banner are placed on pages that contain streaming content. Those sites include FoxNews.com, CourtTV.com, Discovery.com and the Historychannel.com.

In total, across all streaming media sites, networks, channels and aggregators, there are about 650 million audio avail (in-stream, gateway) opportunities per month, compared to about 250 million video avails per month. Video avails have increased since the 1st quarter of 2002 because rep firms such as LightningCast have been selling video inventory in front of audio programming segments, boosting the total.

Sites with broadband audience and generate substantial video stream usage per month typically sell a mix of media, including video, Flash, .gif, banners and pop-ups.

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