Video ads on news sites

“Editor and Publisher”: reports that the two “Denver”: “papers”: have begun “selling video ads”:

I was unable to find any of those ads on the site today, but the “E&P article”: says that they do *not* start playing automatically — thank god.

“The article”: also says that the ads require “Windows Media Player”:

I’m by no means a “Flash”: wizard, and I know Flash has it own usability problems, but I’m pretty certain you can stream video through Flash rather than using a potentially platform-restricting choice (see M$‘s “Windows Media Player”: and “Apple”:’s “Quicktime”:

Ideally, there’d be a W3C(World Wide Web Consortium) video standard, but barring that, it seems that with Flash’s market penetration it’s the closest thing.

As long as the users will always *have* to click to play the video ads, I think they’re a great idea, as long as they’re kept a commodity.

There’s no reason why we shouldn’t start taking advantage of the Web’s multimedia-ness, and if the ads were context-sensitive and entertaining then they could do well.

If, however, I start seeing more than one video ad per page, then they — like animated banner ads before them — will be doomed to failure.

One of the nice things about the printing of a newspaper is that you can only physcially have color on certain pages, and thus only have color ads on certain pages. This makes it a commodity for the advertiser (read, more revenue for publishers) and it means more contrast for the reader (“Hey look, that ad’s in color!”).

On the Web, we’re confronted with dozens of flashing, blinking, screaming banner ads — on the top, down the side, in the content, at the bottom… .

The genie’s out of the bottle in this case — it’d be a tough sell for an ad manager to convince advertisers that he can no longer offer 5 animated banner spots on a page. There’s no good excuse like “the press can’t handle it.”

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