Fox joins YouTube in offering 6-sec. ad format; will other nets follow?

By Jim O'Neill on Jun 22 2017 at 9:00 AM

Fox Networks Group has joined Google in offering a six-second ad format that can’t be skipped on its digital properties, with the goal to eventually bring them to its linear TV networks as well.

"This is the first time that a broadcast television company has committed to the ad format, which YouTube introduced last year," the companies said, adding that he ultra-short sports strikes “a balance between appreciable brand lift and optimal user experience."

Six seconds, said Tara Walpert Levy, VP of agency and media solutions at YouTube and its parent company, Google, is “both long enough and short enough” and is “great for on-the-go users who appreciate the succinct message, for creatives who appreciate the constraint, and for brands who value the consistent results.”

I’ve been a big proponent of shorter ads as one solution to the ad crisis facing brands as more viewers move online to watch video and a significant portion of them employ ad blockers on their smartphones, tablets and computers. Among Millennials and Gen Edge, advertising is an anathema that they avoid simply by opting to watch content elsewhere.

In our Q1 2017 Video Index, we note that traditional pre-roll ads have increasingly lower completion rates than mid-roll ads, which are generally tolerated better. Both, however, can benefit from being shorter and less intrusive.

In Q1, we found, broadcasters saw pre-roll ad completion rates of 90% on PCs, 85% on smartphones, 86% on tablets and 93% on connected TVs. Mid-roll ad completions were significantly higher, with PCs at 97%, smartphones at 91%, tablets at 94% and connected TVs at 99%. Obviously, viewers become “invested” in premium content as they get deeper into it. But, even when they’re specifically going to a platform to watch premium video, the tolerance level for ads before content is a challenge… one that should be minimized.

YouTube rolled out the format last year, challenging agencies with its Amazing Things Can Happen in Six Seconds brief.

Will other networks act to accommodate the shorter ad formats? Digitally it’s a certainty. But, whether there are executives at the broadcast network level bold enough to go that direction is another question… at least in the short term.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Principal Analyst and Strategic Media Consultant for Ooyala. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn

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"This is the first time that a broadcast television company has committed to the ad format, which YouTube introduced last year," the companies said, adding that he ultra-short sports strikes “a balance between appreciable brand lift and optimal user experience."

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