Survey: Pre-roll ads are a major barrier to watching online news videos
In a new international survey of web users, less than 25 percent say they watch online news video content in a typical week. Pre-roll ads are a major reason why.
Everybody knows that online video is huge. Cat videos. Cooking videos. Funny GIFs. Live video on Facebook or Periscope. The list goes on and on. But there’s one type of video that doesn’t rank very high on that list: news videos. And new data suggest two main reasons why.
In a new survey, only 24 percent of web users in 26 countries around the world said they watch news video online in a typical week. The 2016 Digital News Report, commissioned by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and conducted by YouGov, involved more than 50,000 online news consumers and took place in late January/early February of this year.
When it comes to online news, people prefer text-based news by a wide margin. Fifty-nine percent said they’d read a news article within the prior week, and 41 percent had seen a list of headlines on a news website. Watching news videos was the third most common way to consume news online, but only 24 percent said they’d done so in the previous week.
There are geographical differences when it comes to watching news videos online. It’s most common in the US, where 33 percent of respondents said they’d done so in the prior week. But in Europe, an average of only 22 percent of web users said they had watched online news video. Four of the five countries with online news viewership below 20 percent are in Europe.
Pre-roll ads are a turn-off
What’s holding back online news video? The 40,000+ respondents who said they hadn’t watched any news videos online in the prior week cited a number of reasons, but two stood out: First, text-based news articles are faster and easier to consume. And second, pre-roll video ads are a turn-off. Forty-one percent said they prefer to read news online, and 35 percent said they don’t like the pre-roll ads.
Further, 78 percent of respondents said they only read text-based news online or just occasionally watch online news videos. Only five percent said they watch more online news than they read.
The survey data are in stark contrast to comments earlier this week from the Facebook VP who predicted that the News Feed will probably be “all video” within the next five years. Facebook is by far the top social network for news — in the Reuters/YouGov survey, 44 percent of all respondents said they use Facebook to get news. But as long as news consumers still prefer to read articles, that five-year prediction is probably not going to come to fruition.
The survey is filled with a lot of interesting data around online news consumption, from the importance of social media to the ongoing growth in smartphone news readership, to ad blocking and more. It’s all available, including a 124-page PDF, at DigitalNewsReport.org.