I hate answering a question with a question but I this question keeps coming up so I thought I’d write out a thought; granted, starting…
[see that chart… that chart doesn’t make any sense… except that it’s a few years out of date… and that it shows how substantial television remains]I’ve been working online since about 1999 (earlier than that if we count building websites in college). My first job was at Yahoo!, at a time when we were taking over the homepage of the most popular web address in the world, to run “takeover” ads for Britney Spears, Dell, and Sony - ads that would often run videos. Why don’t we see those anymore? Certainly, not because Yahoo is actually dead; it’s still one of the most heavily trafficked sites on the internet. Banner Ad “CPMs” (cost per thousand impressions - how online ads are usually packaged and sold) used to demand a rate card price of as much as $30 per thousand. Within the span of the years I spent at Yahoo, almost two decades ago, we saw that average CPM fall to a fraction of that. Why? Good question. Let me ask another first: Why is there always such aggravation over ads showing up in YouTube?
That’s “television” isn’t it?The internet is what we consider an Active Consumption platform. We sit upright (well… not so much anymore thanks to the smartphone), we use a keyboard, we have dozens of tabs/apps open, we can work while we scroll… Television (the box) is what we consider Passive Consumption. We zone out. We lie down / sit back. We don’t really do anything else but eat. Sure we have a remote and can walk to the kitchen when a commercial plays, but it still plays.
Active Consumption tends to favor Active Engagement Ads while Passive Engagement Ads (banners, audio, or videos) get ignored more capably or even blocked entirely. This is why Google Adwords is such a gold mine - they are active engagement ads: they serve what the audience is seeking at the time that they are seeking it.Simply put, “Advertising” online usually sucks because no one is paying attention. Appreciate that I’m not comparing Adwords to Television ads; like to like: banner ads, commercials, and audio spots, online, are relatively poor promotions. Notice that Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix are all working to creep ads back into the paid subscription model that held the promise of no advertising. Cable, decades ago, was sold on the same premise… Broadcast Television is free (over the air), so commercials and show sponsors were always part of the experience. Cable came along and since you were paying for it, the promise was fewer commercials (or even none, as was the case with HBO). Thing is, that didn’t last… commercials crept into most of the experience and we started fleeing cable for OTT (Over The Top, as it’s also called), streaming, video… first note, by torrenting videos to get content without commercials - since it was possible; not because we wanted to break the law. Netflix rose to prominence thanks to their inexpensive alternative to cable and the fact that no one really wants to steal content… again: the promise of affordable television without commercials. But it didn’t last long and now PAID for streaming television is adding in advertisements. Note that: Advertising is creeping back into streaming Television. Why? For the same reason television has always been a lion’s share of advertising, even compared to the internet: because it works.
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