In the five-year outlook it released last month, eMarketer said that video ads would be the “main channel” for major advertisers seeking to increase their online spending. Already, ads for companies like Johnson & Johnson and Unilever pop up often on sites like MSNBC.com.
“More and more advertisers are starting to play in the online video space,” said Jeremy Steinberg, the vice president of digital sales and business development for the Fox News Channel.
News sites account for only a small portion of the 25 billion video streams counted by comScore on an average month. The firm reported almost 500 million video streams in its news and information category in September — still a substantial figure. Most of the streams occurred on MSNBC.com (162 million, according to comScore) and CNN.com (148 million).
Advertising dollars have not always kept pace with the growing view counts, but Mr. Quinn said video was currently the strongest ad format for WSJ.com.
“I wish we had more, since we’re sold out,” Mr. Quinn said.
In September the site introduced “The News Hub,” a live Webcast from The Journal’s newsroom at 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. each weekday. When “Hub” is shown live on the WSJ.com home page, it includes a sponsorship mention and a companion display ad. When it is replayed, it includes a pre-roll ad. Sponsorships are sold monthly, with Charles Schwab being the current one.
The rate card for WSJ.com lists pre-rolls for a $75 C.P.M. before advertiser discounts. Mr. Quinn said the C.P.M. was around $50 last fall.
FoxNews.com, which like WSJ.com is a unit of the News Corporation , now sells sponsorships of its daytime Web show, “Strategy Room.”
When the show had its debut in its current form earlier this year, it included only an occasional remnant pre-roll ad. This month, as viewership increased, the show started to include TV-style commercial breaks and advertiser logos in the corner of the video screen. Fox says the 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m. show gets an average of 35,000 streams per weekday.
Web executives say some clients think of online video as an extension of TV, and others think of it as an enhancement — one that allows for interactive messages and instant feedback from viewers. They acknowledge that the medium is still in many ways immature. Sites continue to disagree about the legitimacy of “autoplay,” a setting that starts videos automatically when a Web page loads, increasing the number of streams without necessarily knowing that the Web user is watching.
Web executives say that ads next to dispatches from Afghanistan normally cannot draw the same C.P.M.’s as lighter fare. MSNBC.com has found success with lifestyle segments that are sold as a package between TV and the Web. Last month it introduced TodayMoms, a section for mothers sponsored by Wal-Mart with a TV connection on the “Today” show.
“The Web is fulfilling this promise of being a medium where you can enjoy video as much as you can see it on TV,” Mr. Tillinghast said. “The difference online is, if you want to do something with it — share it, stick it on a blog, post it on a Facebook page, or mark it and save it — you can do all that. And that was never possible before.”