Is Online Video Sustainable?

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The question is quite straightforward. Given the new ‘business model’ of ‘ad-supported’ is online video a sustainable space and as a marketer, should you be looking at the online video space as a possible advertising platform? Let’s see.
With new media we have a new business model that dictates that all content should be completely free of cost to the consumer and if need be supported by advertising. A study by eMarketer indicates how this model has been molded by consumer preferences as most consumers are extremely unwilling to pay to access content.
But that’s not the only problem. The study finds that consumers are not only opposed to a pay-per-view model or a subscription model but are also increasingly finding advertising in videos to be highly intrusive and think that it detracts from the overall experience.
However, online video advertising continues to grow exponentially with complete disregard for the return on investment. With consumers becoming increasingly averse to the ad-supported model (for online video) this raises doubts about whether online video is a good platform for marketers, and since it seemingly isn’t, this raises concerns about the sustainability of online video.

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

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  • James Dunn

    Naturally people don’t like ads, that’s not surprising. The question is will they still watch videos with ads and what kind of ROI are advertisers getting.

  • Tinu Abayomi-Paul

    Online video will become sustainable when it mimics the TV model. All this pre-roll, mid-roll BS isn’t going to fly.
    On the net if you can build an audience that is either 1- large and measured or 2- hypertargeted to known buyers, no matter what the medium is, you can make a profit.
    The web will have to work harder to make their ecommerce efforts in video more lucrative… and that will take a while. Ask me again in 2009.
    PS- I’m perfectly willing to pay for online video, have and will again. But the content has to be that important to me, or my business, and cost-effective to boot.

  • I think is a case and point for the above ‘willing to pay’ pie chart, as they recently moved away from their paid subscription “CNN Pipeline” online video service to a free service.
    As one might expect, however, the ‘free’ service is video ad-supported. Not a problem for me, as I just read a blog post in another browser tab while waiting for the story to queue. Anyone think they know their free video users do that?

  • Yes, there are a lot of questions about if the online video market is sustainable. So much focus is on the consumer side of online video and rich media, but the opportunity is in the business-to-business (B2B) market. Insight24 is B2B rich media network that is creating an aggregation of content for technology professionals. Companies are going to great lengths to create “rich media” assets and this is giving them another venue for its distribution.
    Geared towards the IT professional, Insight24 is categorized in more than 30 timely and relevant IT topics from 130 companies and more than 4,000 pieces of content. It is a “free to post, free to use” site where you can take advantage of the Web 2.0 functionality such as ranking and commenting on content or you can subscribe to keyword and category-specific RSS feeds. Give it a try yourself at Thanks!
    Mark Peterson for Insight24

  • elpollo

    Advertisers are trying to find a way to properly use video. Just like the first days of the internet, one big ball of info, untill it got organized. Same here, it is now a big ball of junk videos, someone and time will discover how to make a buck out of them

  • Yes, the space is a “big ball of junk videos.” Who would pay to watch that? It’s not the “video,” it’s the content of the video. We “pay per view” & “on demand” movies of quality. If it’s a dog, it’s a dog and no one buys. What did CNN Pipeline have that people wanted to pay for? We don’t pay for news. We’ll pay for high quality content that is unique and compelling. There could be “pay per view” on YouTube for the right content. To host and stream a “big ball of junk” is probably not sustainable unless there is enough quality content to carry the rest. Perhaps YouTube will have none, one and two star videos expire or have to pay a nominal sum to remain up.