Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Desk-Potatoes Are More Engaged

MediaPost reported the other day that viewers are 47% more engaged in ads streamed online than on traditional television. The article was a result of a year's worth of research by Simmons, a company with over 50 years of experience studying television ads. The research also showed that WebTV viewers are more involved with the shows they watch and enjoy ads from Web sites they visit more often.

My scientific mind wonders what this data actually correlates. Is the effectiveness of the ads dependent on the medium? That is the conclusion that the MediaPost article implies. To me, there are more variables at play. Some examples:

  • People are more accustomed to lounging on their couch and sitting up and aware at their computers
  • Most online software marks the location of advertisements on the video's scrubber and has a timer on the length of the ad, making ads more bearable
  • It's much easier to surf channels on television; location would be lost online if one browsed to another site
  • Television is more casual, those who watch online are actively seeking content
  • Watching online is trendier and has a fresher feel as the video is customizable and surrounded by Web 2.0 smoothness and gradients
It seems to me that the viewer's attentiveness is due to who the viewer is and why they are viewing, rather than the effectiveness of one medium over another. But, the outcome is the same; online delivery of television shows is a viable and successful means of advertising to viewers. Hopefully two things will come about due to broadcast companies' painfully-slow discovery of online video.
  1. The writer's strike will conclude as both parties realize how much money is being lost
  2. Broadcast companies start posting more full episodes and larger back-catalogs
For now, I will be happy with what I have: Hulu Beta.

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