Why it (begrudgingly) Makes Sense to Interrupt my Online Simpsons snippets

You may have heard that the up-and-coming advertising venue is on-line TV programing.Or you may have just been watching 30 Rock online (during your lunch break, natch) and noticed the mandatory commercials.

As Ian Paul points out in PC World, advertising on an Internet site such as Hulu, where viewers watch their favorite shows on their own schedule, can be more effective than traditional TV methods. Because viewers actively seek the show, they are more willing to sit through a commercial here and there, being unable to simply flip to another channel during the break.  Hulu is certainly aware of this advantage. The site currently charges more for an advertising spot during The Simpsons than Fox does. But there are some points other than higher costs that you should consider before you start buying into on-line TV advertising.

First, this venue is only for national (or international) corporations and markets. This may seem obvious, but a hometown ice cream company is better off advertising on local cable, where it can address a specific clientèle, than on Internet, which has an audience unlimited by geography and uninterested in a business that is.

Paul also points out that, while the online TV audience is broad, it is also small. Only about seven and a half million people watched the entire March Madness online this year; add ten million and you get the number of traditional TV-watchers for the single NCAA basketball tournament. This is a huge difference. The numbers may change in the next few years, especially as people learn to hook the Internet up to their new plasma and HD television sets, but for now the online TV market is a toddler.

Like with any advertising, before you buy a spot on Hulu or TV.com, know your audience. At the moment, it looks like traditional TV is the way to go for most of us. And don’t forget that consulting a PR  specialist could easily save you money and time when it comes to finding the marketing niche that’s right for you.


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