That's according to a new survey of U.S. internet users aged 12 and older conducted by market-research company Ipsos MediaCT in February 2008.
Give and take
"Nobody is going to tell you they love advertising," said Adam Wright, director of Ipsos Media CT. "But the [survey] confirmed the notion that people get the give and take. That can be reassuring for many of the people who are trying to crack the code [of ad-subsidized video models]."
The percentage of internet users who found advertising to be a reasonable price of admission for free video content varies by content but, in general, respondents were more likely to embrace advertising in long-form professional programming. At least three in four digital video consumers said they would find it "reasonable" for advertising to appear in the free digital distribution of full-length TV shows and movies, while about two out of three said the inclusion of advertising would be reasonable with free access to music videos, short news or sports clips.
"If it's premium content, people are willing to sit through ads. It's something that consumers already expect," said Mr. Wright.
Bad news for amateur content
But it's a different story when it comes to amateur digital content, where viewers are much less likely to accept advertising as a price of admission. Just over half of the respondents in the survey who have downloaded or streamed a video online say they would find it "not reasonable" to have advertising embedded within free amateur or homemade video offerings.
That finding could raise an important question for video-sharing websites like You Tube that are diversifying content to include longer, professionally produced material. According to Mr. Wright, these providers will have to "carefully consider" ad-subsidized models since their current audience has grown accustomed to free streams without any advertising.
One way to approach advertising for different types of content is to use different kinds of advertising, Mr. Wright said. For instance, an amateur video might use a 15 second pre-roll or a pop-up ad, depending on consumer reaction.
Said Mr. Wright, "You have to get into what are consumers are OK with and what they aren't, and [ask] when do you start to reach a negative impact?"
Here's a selection of responses from the Ipsos MediaCT survey:
How reasonable is it to have advertising in the following free video content?
Full-length TV show:
82% Very reasonable/somewhat reasonable
18% Not very reasonable/not at all reasonable
75% Very reasonable/somewhat reasonable
25% Not very reasonable/not at all reasonable
68% Very reasonable/somewhat reasonable
32% Not very reasonable/not at all reasonable
Short news or sports clips:
63% Very reasonable/somewhat reasonable
37% Not very reasonable/not at all reasonable
Movie/TV trailers or previews:
62% Very reasonable/somewhat reasonable
38% Not very reasonable/not at all reasonable
Amateur or homemade video clips:
48% Very reasonable/somewhat reasonable
52% Not very reasonable/not at all reasonable