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Streaming Media East 2007: What’s Next for Online Video Advertising?

Sometimes, it’s said, the best is saved for last. While the Streaming Media East 2007 show was well attended—with more than 3,400 attendees, a 25% increase from last year—and many topics of interest were covered, one of the most thought-provoking was held at the very end of the show.

Dubbed "Beyond Pre-Roll: What’s Next for Online Video Advertising" and hosted by Jeff Marcus, president of Sparkway Corporation, the session saw moderator and panelists alike exploring the potential of online advertising.

The four panelists spanned many of the key areas that comprise the online video advertising microcosm. Aleck Schleider, senior director of product sales with Advertising.com, represented the new media buying segment, while Christian Anthony, chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Special Ops Media and Jeremy Lockhorn, director of emerging media and video innovation for Avenue A/Razorfish, represented the new breed of interactive agencies responsible for creating content to be used by traditional advertisers in the uncharted world of online media. The final panelist was Richard Glosser, executive director of emerging media & partner integration at CondeNet, which is the online arm of the Conde Nast magazines, representing a media publisher’s set of sites on which new online video advertisements can be published.

The notable exceptions missing from the panel were research and consumer viewpoints; that is, what works now and what types of advertising and entertainment tie-ins consumers are saying they are interested in. Marcus, however, did a good job walking through some of the typical scenarios.

The End of Pre-Rolls?
When Marcus raised the question of what doesn’t work, the panel gave him a litany of the unsuccessful attempts at online video or rich media advertising. Topping the list was the pre-roll, which has received unwanted attention recently as well over 80% of consumers find it ineffective and annoying.

Schleider stated that pre-rolls do, in fact work, since people watch through the pre-rolls even if they complain about them. Lockhorn countered, suggessting that the industry needed to police itself—as NBC Universal has recently done by limiting the length of pre-rolls to 15 seconds—to keep the consumer from completely revolting against the pre-roll concept.

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