What TV-Style Shows on Yahoo and AOL Means for Small Business Advertisers

Big content companies like AOL, Microsoft, Sony and Yahoo will soon be rolling out long-form online videos that are similar to what we’re accustomed to seeing on TV, says a Reuters article published today.

AOL, for instance, has signed an agreement with Miramax to show free movies online, with ads. Yahoo, Microsoft and Sony will focus more on original programming, such as Microsoft’s “Every Street United” reality series.

For small business advertisers, this shift could be especially good news. AOL and Yahoo are already two of the biggest players in online content and have long-catered to small and medium size companies. A shift toward longer content could provide more highly-targeted advertising opportunities for small, local brands that don’t want to take a traditional mass-media approach.

To quote the article:

“The challenge TV has is it’s not very effective in being able to reach a very discrete target audience and measure it and have more interactive components,” said Scott Ferris, general manager of TV and video advertising for Microsoft. “We have very engaged, high-quality audiences.”

What to Watch

One thing to watch closely is how much segmentation the content companies offer to advertisers. Will the neighborhood bakery or hair salon be able to buy a spot that targets a small geographic area, or will Yahoo, AOL and others ignore their core competency in dealing with small business advertisers, and only chase the big money?

Having set aside half-a-billion dollars to produce content, watch for AOL to try to recoup its investment as quickly as possible.

Also keep an eye on how many ad units the content providers make available per show. In 30 minutes of TV, about eight minutes is spent on ads. This is unlikely to be the case with web content that people can easily click away from.

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Image from YouTube

The placement of the ads will help determine how many units are available. Pre-roll and post-roll ads are common now, and only a few content providers like Comedy Central have tried breaking up their online shows with TV-style ads that interrupt programs.

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Image from YouTube

Next Steps

At Shakr, we’re rooting for these new ads to be very small-business-friendly. Every day we talk to small business owners and marketers who want to use video in their ads, but don’t know how to make a video that they would be proud to show off.  That’s why we’ve made it drag-and-drop simple to create a great video ad. Give Shakr a try.