Consumers Tolerate Ads in Exchange for Free Online Video

March 11, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Broadcast & Cable | Media & Entertainment | Technology | Television | Videogames

Viewing video content online is already widespread, but expectations for online video are?different?from those for TV – it’s perceived as?”free, low-resolution, snackable content,” concludes an ABIresearch whitepaper based in part on an online survey.

Some 86% of respondents are viewing online video content, ABI found. Below, additional findings issued by ABI.

Types of Content


  • The most popular type of content in news clips (65%), followed by movie trailers and user-generated content (about 43% each).
  • TV series are also popular, with 31% of respondents saying they watch them online.
  • Almost half of the respondents who view video content online (46%) are spending about the same amount of time doing so as they did a year ago – 12% of respondents are spending less time viewing online video content.


  • The advertising model for video is still in the early stages: Only 5% of respondents pay for the video content they watch online, and the majority of those that do pay less than $5 per week.
  • Approximately three times as many respondents said they would be willing to watch advertisements in exchange for viewing content for free than those who said they would watch advertisements in exchange for cheaper service.
  • Still, 18% would refuse to watch advertisements in exchange for free content.
  • Some also said they would watch advertisements in order to get free services:?
    • Pay-per-view services (37% would watch ads)
    • TV on a mobile phone (20%)
    • Video clips on a mobile phone (19%)

Home Devices

Viewers are creating their own home theaters and attaching multiple devices to their TVs:


  • Over one-third (38%) of respondents have home theater systems or game consoles attached to their televisions; nearly as many use DVRs.
  • Early adopters (accounting for 7% of those surveyed) already have networked media adapters connecting their PCs and TVs.
  • Less than 2% of consumers use a Slingbox.

Pay TV

  • Although 18% of respondents want to transfer TV content to portable devices (e.g., mobile phones, media players), only 6% say they want pay-TV content for such devices.
  • Few use pay-per-view services to watch movies more than once a week – about 53% do so only a few times a year.

About the survey: Some 1,002 survey respondents selected from a large, third-party online consumer panel (consisting of over 3 million consumers in North America) completed an online survey in Dec. ’07. The overall topic of the questionnaire was television and video viewership; 99% of those surveyed owned at least one TV and watched at least some TV during the week.

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