The Future of Web Video Advertising

Online Television Shows

In an age of Internet connected televisions and broadband powered tablets and smartphones, has the television industry finally lost it’s grip on its coveted lock on the creation and distribution of unique serialized video content?

Is The Web Poised To Become The 5th Network?

Back in the 90’s a new kid joined the block as the 4th Network. Fox joined ABC, CBS and NBC as a recognized network that both created and distributed unique content. Since that time, various cable channels like Discover, History, AE and Bravo have surely created permission to be considered Networks vs just Stations. But with those channels only accessible via Cable or Satellite connections, the Big 4 still retain a huge advantage — access to almost every household in the United States.

Enter the web and broadband access. According to recent research from Leichtman Research Group (LRG), 80.4 Million US Households have broadband access (70% of all US Households). 2012 Nielsen Estimates report that 114.7 Million US Households (darn near 100%) have television access. And the Television Advertising Bureau reports Cable Penetration at 59.6%, ADS penetration — which is satellite or telecom delivered video — at 31.5%.

With Broadband penetration surpassing Cable and Satellite (individually) it is no wonder television studios are beginning to take the medium seriously. YouTube has launched it’s own unique content stationsNot to be outdone, mainstream studios (or networks if you wish) like the Food Network are taking to the web with professionally produced content like Bobby Flay’s Bobby Flay Fit series. And if you’re a Top Chef Fan, you’ve likely noticed the network is inviting you to follow their secondary show, Last Chance Kitchen, online each week.

Everywhere you look, television stations, studios and networks are moving more and more content to the web. For many of these content producers, the web is becoming a 1st Screen vs 2nd Screen Channel. With the rapid proliferation of high resolution tablet computers, television’s future certainly looks to include a strong mobile video strategy.

Web Video Advertising In The Future

The Future of Web Advertising

Consider a world of touch or mouse enabled video advertising. The ability for a consumer to select items on screen in real time and get additional information, save to a wish list or pause the video and purchase the item. With this technology video content can finally cross the content-advertising barrier. For the first time ever, the content truly will be the ad! No need for pre-rolls, post-rolls or commercial interruptions of any kind.

In this brave new world, advertising agencies and their clients will have to embrace the idea of Brand Journalism as a marketing tool. This ability takes product placement to a whole new level and increases that channel’s role enormously.

And this future — it’s not that far away. Today you can experiment with this technology on mobile phones, tablets and connected TVs. European based Touchalize just demo’d the technology at LeWeb in Paris.  You can see from this demo recorded there (click image below to play) that the technology is a wee primitive — looks to be doing some kind of video overlay — but wow, the possibilities.

Touch Based Video Advertising

Now imagine this technology could work on standard televisions via some kind of laser pointer remote or maybe even a mouse based pointer system.

Think about it. How would could you use this in travel and tourism marketing, hospitality, restaurant, retail and fashion to name just a few. Let me know in the comments.

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About Tom Martin

Tom is 25+ year veteran of the sales & marketing industry with a penchant for stiff drinks, good debates and showing companies how to Sell Greatly, and turn conversations into customers. He is the founder of Converse Digital , author of The Invisible Sale and a contributing writer for Advertising Age. Tom guides clients through the digital sales & marketing maze and helps companies teach their sales force how to Painlessly Prospect their way to more sales. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.


  1. Tom, I’m not sure if it’s your site or just some Chrome issue on my end but when I click on the image you referred to, no video launches. As this is the 2nd time this morning I’ve seen this on your site, I thought I’d mention it. I thought it might be AdBlock but I turned it off.

    In any case, you’re dead on regarding web TV and advertising.

    • Bill

      Thanks for the heads up! Go try it now. I think it was an issue with the YouTube link I placed within the {FVE}-{/FVE} code. When I checked it after seeing your comment, it did the same thing for me. BUT I’ve changed it and now seems to be working fine.


  2. Tom…

    My question concerns the embedding of links in video. Won’t that have to happen for web advertising to really take off?


  3. Hi Tom,

    I am wondering if you know of the source that this fashion photograph came from. Is somebody currently doing this as a shopping tool for the iPad or is this just and example of a concept? I am an in depend media producer in San Francisco and I would like to figure out how to offer these services to clients.



    • Hey Doug,

      Sorry about that… I thought I made the name of the company a live link to their site…. yes, it’s an actual demo technology. Here is there site http://www.touchalize.com/ where you can check it out and learn more.

      If you do anything with it, please let me know. I’d love to see any examples or campaigns.


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