SMB Technology

The nuisance of autoplay videos

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There’s a major nuisance roaming the internet at the moment. No, it’s not pop-up ads and ‘You’ve won’ scams, though they definitely make the list. It’s autoplay video and, sadly, mainstream news sites are a major contributor.

If you frequently visit sites such as SMH and The Age, you’ll be well aware of how annoying this feature can be. You click through to an article and your browser becomes slow and sluggish. Before you can stop it, the video is already playing. And while this may not seem a biggie the first time, you’ll be complaining by the ninth.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely the media sites will disable the function for you. Speaking to Mumbrella, Pippa Leary, managing director for Fairfax Digital media, says the majority of users prefer autoplay video content.

“What’s amazing is 75 per cent of people who come to the site watch those videos to completion,” she tells Mumbrella. “We test it constantly. We ask them those questions – overwhelmingly they come back and say ‘no, we prefer to stop it.”

However, media agency UM has decided to enforce a ban on client ads on Fairfax’s online video networks, after a survey on user sentiment towards autoplay. The survey found a massive 96 per cent of users found autoplay videos annoying, which could in turn make users hostile towards advertisers on these sites.

Further, 44 per cent of respondents said they muted the sound once videos autoplayed and 25 per cent said they immediately navigated away from the page. Sixty-one per cent of respondents said they felt more negatively towards a brand advertised on autoplay videos.

“The issue has been discussed in the industry for some time,” said UM CEO Mat Baxter in a statement. "Our research revealed just how alienated people have become with the practice and how damaging it can be for brands to be associated with it, so effective immediately we will not be purchasing video on Fairfax until autoplay is removed."

Published on: Thursday, April 07, 2011

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