Video ad walls should replace paywalls, says Ebuzzing chief

News International and other publishers using paywalls should replace them with web pages offering a choice of video ads, according to Pierre Chappaz, the co-founder and chief executive of European ad platform Ebuzzing.

Pierre Chappaz: co-founder and chief executive of Ebuzzing
Pierre Chappaz: co-founder and chief executive of Ebuzzing

Pierre Chappaz presented a series of future trends for video advertising at the Guardian Changing Media Summit last week, before being quizzed by Rory Cellan-Jones, the technology correspondent for BBC News.

Chappaz, whose company Ebuzzing provides video advertising outside of traditional in-stream video, said media owners could benefit from allowing consumers to choose from a selection of premium ads in order to gain access to a site.

Chappaz said: "Many publishers are using a paywall, but most of the time that doesn't work because people see a paywall and then leave – they aren’t motivated enough to take out their credit card.

"The alternative is to replace a paywall with a page with a choice of several video adverts. Instead of having 5% of people going through to your site you will have 60% of people going through.

"It is better for both the publisher and the user, and it’s an additional revenue as we are not competing with Internet Advertising Bureau advertising space."

He claimed that offering a choice of adverts makes the advertising experience more memorable and engaging, citing studies from Vivaki Nerve Center, Publicis Groupe’s digital intelligence service.

Vivaki Nerve Center found that selecting ads improved a viewer’s recall by 290% and boosted click through rates by 106% compared to pre-roll ads.

Cellan-Jones, who described the idea as "a kind of advertising wall", asked whether Chappaz could foresee publications such as The Times rejecting paywalls and adopting the video wall model.

Chappaz said: "Absolutely, we haven’t signed with The Times yet but we are speaking to most national media outlets in the UK and in France we have 60%-70% of the best premium media outlets on board."

When questioned about whether there is a "battle" between the industry and the consumers, who are more and more determined to get to their content online without having to watch ads, Chappaz replied: "We have more respect than that for the customers, so we only introduce ads in the right context and at the right moment."

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