MediaRadar Blog

Traditional Broadcasters vs. Cable Sites: Are there “best practices” when it comes to online video advertising?

Since the emergence of online video, advertisers have been testing the water with which lengths are the most profitable , and yet, nothing seems to be concrete just yet in the world of online video advertising. However, we are capable of uncovering trends regarding video length already set by traditional national broadcaster and cable networks. Here’s what we can report on so far:

Traditional national broadcasters, the “Big 4” of TV, tend to favor 30 second spots making up 46% of their websites. This is ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. CBS News has the highest proportion of 30 second ads, with 59% of all video ads run. This is a longer average run than any other type of media site. For example, sites without any television legacy average just 34% of 30 second ads. However, this doesn’t mean that traditional broadcasters run long ad lengths exclusively. In fact, the next most popular length at 15 seconds (36%) suggests that this group may be shifting towards shorter duration.

With regards to cable networks, cable channels are generally more progressive with shorter ad lengths. For example, Eonline has only one-third of video ads at 30 seconds. But we found that CNN, known to compete with traditional news broadcasters, plays two-thirds of their video ads at 30 seconds, similar to the traditional model. We also saw that some cable brands are early adopters like ESPN experimenting with ads down to 10 seconds.

In terms of sites without television, they are running the shortest average video ad length. In analyzing video length, these sites have an almost equal amount of ads running 15 and 30 seconds, 34% and 35% respectively. One very interesting finding: these sites are also visibly experimenting with video ad length from ads at 15 seconds (and maybe less), to ads greater than 65 seconds. The long form video advertisement now make up 14% of total video ads running.

What do you think about the differences between the traditional broadcasting model versus the cable network model when considering video advertisement? Do you think you know where length will shift next? Let us know in the comments below!