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"30 Seconds Is Too Long"

The Internet and mobile Web are about to turn traditional television advertising on its head.
December 5, 2005

Television advertising executives have been waging an open war on digital video recorders for the last few years, fearful that technologies which allow viewers to skip commercials would destroy revenues. By and large, the TV industry has done an efficient – albeit not perfect – job of maintaining its foothold on the 30-second ad spot.

Execs can’t quite breathe a sigh of relief yet, though. In fact, it may turn out that while they were fighting the TiVos of the world, they forgot to show up for the only battle that really mattered. According to this Reuters story, television advertising is about to come under intense pressure from both online and mobile advertising:

Television accounts for roughly two-thirds of major companies’ advertising budgets, and that could shrink to about one-half in three years, according to David Verklin, chief executive of online media buying company Carat Americas, a unit of Aegis Group Plc.

Most online video advertising – according to this piece – will be shorter than 10 seconds, with mobile video ads clocking in closer to 4-5 seconds. It’s also likely going to be much less expensive to produce, giving companies the ability to try out and distribute a variety of campaigns. That change may prompt television networks – which will continue to vie for as much of the advertising money as they can – to begin running advertisements that mirror the short, punchy – and clickable – online ads.

Verklin, like a number of executives, predicted that television would begin to look like the Internet, perhaps adding clickable Web sites in place of commercials.

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