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NBC limits online ads to 15 seconds

May 7, 2007

Advertising Age has a good article on NBC’s decision to limit its online advertising to 15 seconds or less for online videos. Read it here.

As <15 seconds becomes the norm in the online video space, one has to wonder how advertisers will adapt. Will they try to raise the bar for creativity in 15 seconds, or will we actually see reversal of the trends found on TV? My prediction is that advertisers will create less of the slick, attention-grabbing, and late brand ID techniques used on TV. If you think about it, it would be wiser to quickly communicate a product/service and its benefits even if its not entertaining in its own right. Heck, even a static brand logo shot for 5 seconds will probably be effective in making an impression. Plus, if there’s only one ad served per video, there’s less advertising clutter to compete with.

Television requires (arguably) a commercial to be entertaining or humorous to engage a viewer. Television has always been a lean back medium, meaning viewers tend to be passive and less engaged. But the Internet is a lean forward medium, and 15 seconds or less might be short enough that viewers will watch and receive the message the advertisers want to convey before the viewer gets bored or distracted. In 15 seconds, I don’t have time to load up another web page and start reading a new article. On television, one of the problems for advertisers is that commercials are clumped together so a person can get up and leave for 3 or so minutes, or flip the channel, or fast forward their DVR. The Internet doesn’t have this issue, so the need to do outrageously creative commericals aren’t going to be necessary.

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