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App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

App-Rising.com is supported in part by AT&T;, however all views and opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

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February 1, 2008 7:22 AM

Online Video's Dirty Little Secret

Recently my wife and I decided to forgo paying for cable TV service in order to end our penchant for wasted evenings and weekends spent channel surfing.

This isn't to say we've stopped watching video. We both very much enjoy movies at home and in the theaters, for example.

I will admit that we haven't yet embraced online movies but I have found myself frequenting the major TV networks' websites on a much more regular basis since turning off cable. Therein you can find full-length episodes of pretty much all your favorite shows.

Now, part of this is professional curiosity and research as I've long written about the business of online video for StreamingMedia.com.

But there's also something else that's a much bigger driver of this change in my behavior.

It quite simply is online video's dirty little secret: there are hardly any commercials!

That's right, over the last three full-length episodes I've watched I've seen maybe a half dozen commercials. While there are most certainly more commercial breaks, lining up with how the show would be shown on TV, more often than not there isn't a commercial to fill all those slots.

Even when there is a commercial it's a commercial, as in singular. No more three plus minute commercial extravaganzas; it's just one 15-30 second commercial and you're back to your show.

The result of these limited commercials is that I'm about a thousand times more likely to watch a show from beginning to end, instead of catching the channel surfing wave whenever the commercial break starts and rarely making it back to my show by the time that break ends.

And that's ultimately the intent of limiting commercials online.

With TV, it was long the only game in town and the TV networks had no way of knowing in real-time what impact their decisions regarding commercials were having on viewership.

Now on the Internet, content owners have direct feedback into user behavior, and in turn they're beginning to recognize that the ultimate goal of an online video is to get a user to watch it through to the end, and that if they load that video up with long commercial breaks, the odds of someone sticking around drop dramatically.

It really is a fantastic evolution of the content world that is directly resulting in a better user experience, and in so doing ultimately improving content owners' bottom line through the paradigm-shifting, enabling technology we call broadband.


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