Consumers often grumble about the number of ads on a typical TV show. And many have purchased DVR technology to allow them to watch shows without the ads. Other consumers are watching TV shows online. They are likely to encounter advertising in this format as well, though significantly less than what they see on TV. And attitudes on this topic vary according to age.

comScore analyst Tania Yuki recently studied the incidence of  ads on online shows and published a white paper on her findings. Yuki tested consumers between the ages of 18-49 and asked them to select which ad lengths were appropriate for an hour of online video viewing. Consumers had the option of assigning minutes to the categories of negligible, minimal, long enough and too long.  Nearly 100% of survey participants said that 1 minute was minimal or negligible advertising and nearly 100% said that 15 minutes was long enough or too long. Yuki pinpointed the preferred upper limit of the advertising load at 7 minutes per hour for consumers who are ages 18-49. The analyst further noted that 6.5 minutes of ads per hour will allow the broadcaster to achieve ‘ maximum engagement’ and this is “50% greater than what is currently being served to online audiences.”

Interestingly, it is the younger age group, those between age 18-24, who show the least tolerance for online ads during videos. As a result, Yuki cautions potential marketers to be sensitive to how easily this age group can be lost and says that a one-size fits all approach to online advertising will cause marketers to suffer market share loss of viewing audiences.

Yuki’s research comes at a time when more consumers are watching online video. Marketers are exploring the ways they can maximize consumer attention and favorable opinions of their brands. Based on these results, they may increase the amount of online video advertising in their media mix.

[Source: Yuki, Tania. Age Matters: Ad Sensitivity in Online TV Programming. Comscore.com. 15 Sept. 2010. Web. 7 Oct. 2010]