Online Video Worries

I'm starting to worry about the repeated beating of the Online Video drum. The last two conferences I attended, everybody was talking about it like it was "the next big thing." I'm hoping this doesn't usher in a second generation of shovelware TV commercials. At the iMedia Summit, one of the guys from Freestyle Interactive showcased some ads that utilized video, but still managed to offer up an interactive experience. One of the ads featured Tiger Woods and an impossible-to-win putting game in which Tiger himself reacted to the player's missed putts by taunting him. It was quite cool, but I doubt we can trust the rest of the interactive industry to put together ads along the same lines.

More likely, we'll see yet another wave of people putting TV commercials online. And it's going to breed another wave of resentment, not to mention that it will put advertisers off track and make them see the Internet as Just Another Broadcast Medium.

If you think that there aren't a ton of industry execs who would love to see "Shovelware 2: The Sequel," you're mistaken. There were plenty of them at the iMedia Summit, and many of them took exception to comments I made in private conversations that many agencies and advertisers are trying to make a passive medium out of an active one.

Despite the fact that it doesn't take much more than a good ad server to display online video assets, many of the companies that promised online video as an add-on are somehow still in business, charging anywhere from a $3 to $5 CPM to use "their" technology to serve it. I thought agencies would have gotten wise to the fact that these companies are unnecessary middlemen by now. In fact, just the opposite is happening and more online video companies are springing up. What are they pitching? Mostly the ability to play TV commercials online, whether that be in "pre-roll" or "post-roll" format, standalone video executions or interstitials.

Believe me when I say that many of these folks will do ANYTHING to cling to the broadcast model.