Fairfax boss: Our users prefer us to autoplay video

The boss of Fairfax Digital’s media sales operation has defended the company’s use of autoplay videos, saying the majority of users prefer them to start automatically and have the option to stop them, rather than the other way round.

Speaking on The Mumbo Report, Pippa Leary, MD – media for Fairfax Digital said: “What’s amazing is 75% of people who come to the site watch those videos to completion. We test it constantly. We ask them those questions – overwhelmingly they come back and say no, we prefer to stop it.”  

Autoplay videos are a potential issue for advertisers who pay for pre-roll ads and want to be sure they are being viewed.

Leary also defended the publisher’s use of autorefresh – reloading a page every few minutes, and the ads with it. She said that Fairfax was “in the hunt” to find a new content management system to refresh editorial content without reloading the ads.

Today sees Fairfax’s AGM in Melbourne.

In today’s Mumbo Report from Studio 33:

  • Pippa Leary also talks about Fairfax’s long form video ambitions;
  • IAB’s Paul Fisher reveals his greatest professional blunder


For those using devices that don’t support Flash, you can also watch this episode on Youtube.

Catch episode 71 and future episodes by subscribing to Mumbrella’s Mumbo Report YouTube channel.

And to The Mumbo Report on iTunes

With the support of:

Xtreme logo mumbrella

Comments


  1. Stephen Collins
    11 Nov 10
    9:42 am

  2. Pippa Leary, you are WRONG.

  3. Michael Wyres
    11 Nov 10
    9:43 am

  4. I have never met a single person who thinks the autoplaying videos are a good idea!

  5. Andrew
    11 Nov 10
    9:48 am

  6. Stark difference on this point between Fairfax Digital and 3AW (another arm of Fairfax Media). When I complained a few months back via Twitter to @3aw693 about autoplay audio and video on their site, they conducted a snap one-day poll of site visitors and got something like 90% ‘No’ response to their question re. whether content should auto-play.

    They changed it the next day, thanked readers for input and haven’t been tempted/forced to return to the irritating former system.

    A similar question put to @theage got no response whatsoever.

    Pippa Leary’s comments must surely be the most deluded I’ve read in a while.

  7. Tim Bennett
    11 Nov 10
    9:48 am

  8. That’s absolutely not the feedback I’ve had from many people, and it’s why I wrote this guide to removing those videos. All you need is Firefox, Chrome, Safari and the free AdBlock browser plugin.

    Instead of claiming to know what users want, Fairfax should provide the choice to switch of autoplaying videos. Failing to do so shows Fairfax is more interested in pre-roll advertising revenue; it’s a bad look for a business trying to adapt and survive in a digital economy.

  9. Elbogrease
    11 Nov 10
    9:50 am

  10. I use Adblock Plus and Flashblock. They keep this rubbish from loading until you actually click on the window. Never met anyone who appreciates popups of any kind.

  11. Mayav
    11 Nov 10
    10:07 am

  12. What a load of……nevermind…..
    Dear Fairxax: Pls put out a daily poll on theage.com.au and let’s see what it says!

  13. Mayav
    11 Nov 10
    10:08 am

  14. Sorry i ment to say:
    Dear FairFax: Pls put out a daily poll on theage.com.au and let’s see what it says!

  15. Danielle
    11 Nov 10
    10:11 am

  16. *fa-i-rfax

  17. parala
    11 Nov 10
    10:12 am

  18. So a quarter of your viewership is abandoning the content without seeing it through and you’re OK with that? Ditch the autoplay and the false causality.

  19. Nicky
    11 Nov 10
    10:13 am

  20. Perhaps Pippa should conduct an online poll on her online website, to see what online users think? I suspect she’d be surprised at just how much people hate autoplay videos. For starters, what about people who are at work? I too use both Adblock Plus and also run a Greasemonkey script, between the 2 it blocks everything – but I shouldn’t have to.

  21. John
    11 Nov 10
    10:17 am

  22. They have also added that annoying mid screen slide in blurb for another article on their site. you have to close it to go to the next page. I hate it!

  23. Jonathon
    11 Nov 10
    10:17 am

  24. Unadulterated horseshit

    “75% of people who come to the site watch those videos to completion…”

    Is it possible to get some clarification Tim? I take this to mean that 75% of people don’t bother to press ‘stop’ while they view the article, rather than 75% dutifully taking in several minutes of video. Which means 25% are actively stopping the video. Which, Pippa Leary, is VERY high, and is a strong indication that your users overwhelmingly dislike this. Exactly why the world’s best newspaper sites, like telegraph.co.uk and guardian.co.uk have rejected it – and their content is vastly better than Fairfax’s.

    Jeebus. Next you’ll tell us your users love automatically expanding overlays because only 49% close them (while the other 51% immediately bounce).

    Please stop being silly and focus on your consumers

  25. Tim Richards
    11 Nov 10
    10:17 am

  26. If his claims are true, then there’d be little to lose by providing the choice to switch OFF those @#$%ing autoplay videos.

    I suspect this policy will actually damage their ad revenue, since people who generally have no objection to online ads will now be pushed to install ad blockers. Not good for Fairfax or for the project of finding a sustainable model for financing journalism in the digital future.

    I so wish Fairfax would check out the Guardian site – it’s a fine example of how to do it well.

  27. Adam Paull
    11 Nov 10
    10:22 am

  28. I’ve been out with friends and family when people have starting talking about how much they hate the autoplay videos… When the topic starts popping up at dinner parties and pubs with “normal” punters without any prompting then Fairfax has a problem.

  29. Shirt guy
    11 Nov 10
    10:27 am

  30. If FFX are filling these auto play ad slots with advertisers willing to turn a blind eye to the specifics (and meet their group deal quotas) then why would they stop. Obviously it’s not completely hammering their traffic so maybe normal consumers can put up with the videos seeing theyre most likely off screen and muted.

    No win for the advertiser but that real outcomes don’t seem that important to many buyers.

  31. showcaseJase
    11 Nov 10
    10:33 am

  32. I’ve complained about their auto-play videos a couple of times and my new rule is that I won’t visit any website that makes me feel like a silenced minority.

    If they were to put a poll on their site about the auto-play issues, then I could be tempted though. It’s a great idea.

  33. Chris
    11 Nov 10
    10:35 am

  34. I’m not sure whether it’s because many of my acquaintances are in the media, but I certainly don’t know anyone who likes these ridiculous autoplay videos. I stop about 99 per cent of them, with only the odd one looking like it will make a difference to the story.

    I suggest a week-long poll on both the SMH and The Age to really give people a chance to get their voices heard. Of course, the problem with that is Fairfax’s open voting system that allows multiple votes. If they could figure out how to ban multiple votes from the same IP address, I’m sure that could be a winner.

  35. JHG
    11 Nov 10
    10:42 am

  36. WHO could possibly appreciate something online being force-fed to them?
    If people want to watch the video, they will click on it.
    The only explanation of a 75% majority watching an auto-roll clip is that a lot of people must be simply muting their work computers and letting the video run while they read the story below.
    I’ve heard of plenty of people who hate it, none who like/appreciate it.

  37. Dave
    11 Nov 10
    11:02 am

  38. (Edited under Mumbrella’s comment moderation policy)!!

  39. Craig
    11 Nov 10
    11:29 am

  40. I have complained to Fairfax about the autoplay videos and their response was:

    ***
    Hi,

    Thanks for your feedback. All our auto-play videos have a 5 second delay to when the video starts, during this delay you have the option to stop (or opt out) the video and ad from loading and then playing by clicking the ‘don’t play’ option. Please note that as these videos and ads are streamed, there is no downloaded content until they start to play. In addition, you can mute the clip by clicking on the screen of the player, to re-enable sound, just click again on the player screen. There is no site wide setting for disabling this feature, though we are considering some changes to it as part of a future update to the site.

    Regards,

    Fairfax Digital Support

    ****

    So user friendly, “if you don’t want our crap forced on you, jump through 10 hoops and you’ll be right.”

    They are massively out of touch, if I wanted to watch videos, I’d go to YouTube.

    This has just ratified my decision to avoid watching (and placing ads with) Fairfax.

  41. Nathan
    11 Nov 10
    11:49 am

  42. JHG – that’s is exactly what I do, muting the computer whilst browsing the Age. Beats having to go on a hunt for the bloody stop button.

  43. BD
    11 Nov 10
    11:57 am

  44. Autoplay is not only a pain, it can be expensive for people on certain mobile internet plans.

  45. Mick
    11 Nov 10
    11:59 am

  46. Thats not Fair-fax

  47. Grant H
    11 Nov 10
    12:37 pm

  48. We also looooooooooooooooooooooooove auto-refresh

  49. Rant
    11 Nov 10
    12:39 pm

  50. ‘Watching to completion’ would include videos automatically playing and automatically refreshing, no?

    So if I leave a tab live in firefox, chrome or IE, I might ‘watch’ hundreds of videos to completion in a day – even though I won’t actually see the video in real life.

    Advertisers are being ripped off. Readers abused for another ‘silver bullet’ ad solution to a low yielding business model.

    Fairfax (and the others) crap content / crap user experience is simply a downward spiral to the bottom, that leads to bad results for advertisers.

  51. Ben
    11 Nov 10
    12:57 pm

  52. I took a quick poll of comments on this story. 25-0, turn the damn things off.

  53. Hilius
    11 Nov 10
    1:18 pm

  54. Yes Pippa, your audience absolutely loves the auto-playing of your videos. I, for one, love Fairfax’s commitment to quality videojournalism, in the form of poorly paid interns giving a shallow twenty-second summary of the article which the viewer is about to read anyway, or gripping ‘RAW VISION’ of cops standing around outside a house several hours after a crime occurred there. Why would anyone not want to watch such Pulitzer-worthy material? Please, please, please make sure we can’t choose whether or not to watch it.

  55. Tia
    11 Nov 10
    1:20 pm

  56. I will automatically shut down any window that has autoplay and not read the story I dispise it so much. I’ve started using other news sites that don’t have autoplay. I really, emphatically, can’t stand it.

  57. willemrt
    11 Nov 10
    1:22 pm

  58. Unfortunately its got to the stage where I block all Flash on Fairfax websites using a browser plugin. Then I get to choose, but also they get no impressions from me for display ads.. their loss.

  59. Shirt guy
    11 Nov 10
    1:26 pm

  60. don’t worry willemrt – they’d still be charging advertisers for the impressions regardless of whether the ad was blocked or not … as the ads would be served by a third party and the pub side ad server would still be making a call to it.

    so it’s win/win for ffx

  61. Cam
    11 Nov 10
    1:30 pm

  62. I for one would like to see a Fairfax response to this thread … if they’re going public with this ridiculous support message for autoplay and auto refresh they should be prepared to engage in discussion … non ?

  63. Nic Halley
    11 Nov 10
    1:35 pm

  64. arse

  65. Oliver
    11 Nov 10
    1:40 pm

  66. Re: Chris’s comment (no 17)
    I know for a fact, that Fairfax definitely could ban multiple votes from the same IP address. They just don’t bother or want to because they like their polls to be biased in favour of the views they are trying to push.

    As for the auto-play videos, I bet the 75% who watch them to completion are just the people who don’t know how to stop them.

    Grow up Fairfax! The days of forcing unwanted content on users are over. If those advertisements; sorry “stories”, are still there next year I will stop reading all Fairfax publications. And Murdoch thinking of charging for this tripe, is beyond a joke, I’ll be laughing at him all the way to his grave.

  67. version
    11 Nov 10
    1:54 pm

  68. I don’t turn the video off. I just mute the PC and read the article. Guess I’m considered one of those who accepts them.

  69. madashell
    11 Nov 10
    1:55 pm

  70. The reason 75% of these videos are watched to completion is that if you miss your 5 second window to stop them—you don’t get another chance . Also they autoplay when users just want to read a story—they are often adding nothing and have not been requested. It is quite clear the autoplay helps fairfax stats and impressions so they are sticking to it. I too have sent emails to Fairfax asking them to stop the autoplay—the single most irritating thing about their site–but never had a response The video quality is poor- and I have recently seen voice over on still images which is fine if you are vision imparied and can;t read the story but add nothing for most readers.

  71. Francis
    11 Nov 10
    2:02 pm

  72. I’m so relieved I’m not alone. I thought I was the only one who find this forcefeeding of ads and halfbaked video stories excruciating. I complained but received no response.

    I can’t believe Fairfax persists with this. Once they start you can’t turn them off. That’s not the same as watching to conclusion. The best I can do is turn the sound off.

    When I’m quickly browsing through stories the last thing I want to do is wait for the turn off link to become visible. And if half way through my reading a story some ad comes on I can’t finish reading. Do Fairfax advertisers really want to piss off customers?

  73. dan
    11 Nov 10
    2:03 pm

  74. The question posed was: Would you prefer a smack in the head or the option to stop autoplay yourself?
    “overwhelmingly they come back and say … we prefer to stop it.”

  75. Elisabeth
    11 Nov 10
    2:23 pm

  76. Excellent, have followed Tim Bennett’s instructions and now don’t have those autoplay videos annoying me any more. I also don’t see the ads on The Age & SMH pages – something that doesn’t bother me either way, but I suspect would bother the Fairfax advertisers. I’ll stop using AdBlocker when Fairfax sees the light and removes the autoplay function.

  77. Colin J
    11 Nov 10
    2:27 pm

  78. Who are they kidding? I urge everyone else who hates these videos as much as me to find a Greasemonkey script for your browser that stops them from playing. That’s if for some reason you don’t like noisy ads and recycled Reuters videos interrupting your reading.

    I actually subscribed to the paper just so I could get away from the horrors of Fairfax digital for a couple of days a week.

  79. ANON333
    11 Nov 10
    2:35 pm

  80. Pippa Leary, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    How you can sit there, and so blatantly lie through your teeth about this subject is appauling. You have no credibility whatsoever.

    I can appreciate that you’re probably getting pressure from above to tow this line as its a stream of FALSELY DERIVED advertising revenue, but to lie in the i/v like this and try to spin that 75% of people LIKE IT? Pathetic.

    Everyone HATES IT.

    Put your money where your mouth is and do a fairfax wide online poll.

  81. vanaalst
    11 Nov 10
    2:44 pm

  82. ditto all above.

    I have a general boycott on fairfax sites due to their dumb ad-inflicting services. Previously it was those screen overs that totally covered the story you were reading. Now its the autoplay vids and I will be a non visitor till they stop them.

  83. Billy C
    11 Nov 10
    2:57 pm

  84. Large numbers of people who read these sites in offices would have their speakers turned off anyway. What annoys me more is when the video just repeats what is in the article. One or the other please.

  85. Anthony Malloy
    11 Nov 10
    3:02 pm

  86. Oh please. Just come out and say “we’re not going to change it even though we know people don’t like it ’cause it makes us money.” Or run a poll on the site; if what you are saying is true that will shut us up.

  87. Damien
    11 Nov 10
    3:05 pm

  88. Autoplay is a pox in the Ages’s online experience.

    I’m relieve to say that when I begin reading an article in the paper version of The Age, nobody whisks the paper from my grasp and yells “BUY A HOLDEN COMMODORE” or in my face for a minute or so. Why do they subject their readers to such antisocial misanthropy online?

    Pippa Leary is completely out of touch with the readership, or she’s bullshitting us by claiming users prefer autoplay.

  89. Jonathon
    11 Nov 10
    3:19 pm

  90. @Colin J

    I used to use that greasemonkey script and it worked a charm. it’s located here:
    http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/65665

    However Ffax have changed their video module recently and it no longer works. any coders out there offer to update???

    there’s a lot of passionate people here who are more concerned about fairfax’s user experience than fairfax themselves. says something

  91. bee
    11 Nov 10
    3:33 pm

  92. I wonder how many people just have the sound off, scroll down a bit, and don’t even notice. You get a 75%, but few of those actually watch it…

  93. Seller
    11 Nov 10
    3:47 pm

  94. Oh no we don’t!! I have stopped reading Fairfax online purely for this reason.

  95. Mark
    11 Nov 10
    3:47 pm

  96. Pippa, are you smoking crack?

  97. Matt
    11 Nov 10
    3:52 pm

  98. Would be nice if there was a preferences section that stored your prefs in a cookie – cause I can’t stand those auto videos or constant page refreshes…

  99. Charlie
    11 Nov 10
    3:52 pm

  100. 1) most people (like myself) don’t bother trying to hit “stop” and just read through the article ignoring the video (muted computer)
    2) if we could stop the video playing when an Ad is on, it’d be less bother. So many times you open it, get distracted, come back to an ad playing, and then have to wait for that to finish just to stop it.

    More accurate stats from pippa – 100% of our sales team like autoplay ads. 0% of our readers like them.

  101. Anon1
    11 Nov 10
    3:53 pm

  102. Bullshit.

    If they love them so much, why do so many download browser plug-INS to block them?

    And why has Fairfax recently changed it’s code to circumvent the autoplay blockers and Flash blockers?

    Failed, deceptive, fraudulent web design. I seriously hope their advertisers get a read of the comments here.

  103. Marc
    11 Nov 10
    3:53 pm

  104. I Hate Hate Hate autoplay /endrant

  105. mitty
    11 Nov 10
    3:54 pm

  106. Fairfax and Pippa Leary you have no clue at all.

  107. Mitch
    11 Nov 10
    3:56 pm

  108. Whether it’s the misleading headlines or autoplay videos the trouble is in their awkward shift to online Fairfax has lost all perspective on what matters; the readers. It’s all just eyeballs and preroll ads. I hate the damn things and it was the major thing that finally drove me from the SMH to the ABC. Now I’m with Aunty I see no reason to go back.

  109. Steve
    11 Nov 10
    3:56 pm

  110. I work at Fairfax Digital and can tell you that autoplay is important to FD to enable enough video views to attach sales to.

    Without autoplay, and Ricky will deny it, there isn’t enough views to make revenue from.

  111. Tim
    11 Nov 10
    3:56 pm

  112. I can’t find the words to express my contempt for the idiots at Fairfax. Those auto-play ads are just plain dumb and offensive.

  113. Dorothy
    11 Nov 10
    3:57 pm

  114. That’s definitely me, bee (3:33pm). I only ever visit their sites when I’m at work and my speakers are muted. I guess I count as ‘watched-the-whole-thing’, but I certainly never watch them and I feel bad for the clients who are paying for me as an impression.

  115. AgentClarke
    11 Nov 10
    3:59 pm

  116. No no no no no no no and NO. I just can’t accept your claims Pippa as they are so utterly at odds with how I feel about autoplay video (gosh, I had no idea I felt so passionately about this.)

  117. Simon
    11 Nov 10
    3:59 pm

  118. A load of rubbish. Very bad user experience sacrificed for very good ad revenue.
    Why not play some annoying music or throw a few pop ups at us while you’re at it?

  119. Greg
    11 Nov 10
    4:00 pm

  120. Maybe i missed it but is that played until completion?

  121. A
    11 Nov 10
    4:00 pm

  122. Autoplay sucks. That is all.

  123. josh909
    11 Nov 10
    4:01 pm

  124. i was all ready to write out a long winded response however all my points seem to have been covered by the 46 comments above me.

    therefore i shall just leave my response at ‘bollocks’.

  125. but....
    11 Nov 10
    4:04 pm

  126. Why are they even talking about the videos themselves, how many people bother to get past the 30 second advertisement auto-played before the video starts? 15 seconds I can handle, 30 is taking the mickey for a news site.

  127. Dee
    11 Nov 10
    4:04 pm

  128. How come the ‘stop’ button never works for me?

  129. Andrew
    11 Nov 10
    4:06 pm

  130. Sorry Pippa, got bored with you and hit ‘stop’.

  131. qwerty
    11 Nov 10
    4:07 pm

  132. Gibber.

  133. Cathie
    11 Nov 10
    4:14 pm

  134. We thought we’d be helpful and give Fairfax some highly scientific market research as a favour.
    The response so seems to contradict Ms Leary’s theory…

    Do you like auto-played videos? Vote here: http://bit.ly/doaVfK

  135. Dex
    11 Nov 10
    4:16 pm

  136. Wow I thought I was the only one getting worked up about smh.com.au but the long list of comments on this article makes me feel much better.

    I complained about autoplay and never got a response. That was just the start.

    I agree with most people that the video content they make is a pile of poo. Seriously, just because there are some moving images and a voice over it doesn’t make it compelling viewing nor does it add to the story as a whole.

    They also recently added a widget that pops up at the end of a story at the bottom left of the content. AAARRGGHH stop it, whenever it appears it also moves the content while I’m reading it and I lose my place. So I scroll back up and it disappears. I continue reading and it does it again.

    Stop it you knob monkeys, both these things combined make using your site a very disappointing experience.

    If the ABC or SBS News were ‘inspired’ by the page design/layout of SMH/Age I would gladly use their site daily and never use SMH again.

  137. Support for a great lady. Not so much for her decision to front the report
    11 Nov 10
    4:19 pm

  138. Pippa, you personally should have asked someone else to present for this video report for you and let them take the fallout which is obviously happening above and below this comment.

    It makes you look like you are not in touch with your peers and commercial clients reviewing this on Mumbrella. Which is not the case.

    Your a great business women. This is not one of your greatest business decisions though.

  139. Eleanor
    11 Nov 10
    4:20 pm

  140. As much as we all hate autoplay, let’s face it, it’s not going away:
    1

  141. Tom
    11 Nov 10
    4:22 pm

  142. Cathie – for full Fairfax authenticity, could you please make my “No” vote auto-refresh and add to the tally every couple of minutes?

  143. FairfaxFreeFirefox
    11 Nov 10
    4:22 pm

  144. Wow. What amazing crack she must be smoking.

    What she doesn’t realise is some people, myself included, have simply stopped looking at Fairfax sites. I haven’t been to the Age or Herald websites in over a year – because of their irritating autoplay videos.

    Their laughable stats wouldn’t include people like me though. Since I don’t land on their site at all, I don’t count towards the people who dislike their autoplay ads.

    But then again, the number of people using their product doesn’t seem to be a concern to them.

  145. Bradley Eldridge
    11 Nov 10
    4:23 pm

  146. in 2 years you’ll all be complaining when you have to press play.

  147. Eleanor
    11 Nov 10
    4:28 pm

  148. ..don’t listen to me. I can’t even operate a keyboard (-;

    As I was saying:

    1. We all sit through ads on TV and forgot to complain about the disappearance of the ad bumper (remember those??) and we still put up with this as viewers.

    2. As advertisers we are still happy to pay for the ad playing on the box in background even though the viewer might be making a cuppa, or taking the garbage out etc.

    3. The people growing up with the internet now (those born in the 90’s and on) won’t even know an internet without video content splashed all over it in various forms. They will either block it, or, most likely, expect it as a kind of “white noise” of the online experience.

    4. The integration of IPTV (as Pippa point outs) is far too exciting for online publishers to start downgrading video as a potential ad revenue stream.

    As a background to all of this, there was a very revealing article in SMH weekend News Review about the lack of diversity of “new” media ownership. Which means what??? The media owners in Australia are powerful enough to get away with not listening to their (very vocal) readers/viewers – simply because they can!!

  149. Not Stupid
    11 Nov 10
    4:31 pm

  150. I love the autoplay videos – and I am cleaning my chimney for Santa Claus too! The Commonwealth Bank cares about me as an individual, chocolate comes from Easter Bunnies, and… Bunnings prices are just the beginning of something… not sure what, but it is great! Woo hoo

  151. Warlach
    11 Nov 10
    4:36 pm

  152. The lovely kids at Reading Room, Sydney, actually had a good response for Fairfax on this:
    http://bit.ly/doaVfK

    Vote now, kids.

  153. Pickle
    11 Nov 10
    4:36 pm

  154. Let’s face reality – the newspaper advertising business model fails in digital as well as print.

    I’m getting sick of autoplay and auto refresh as well Fairfax’s steady march towards tabloid journalism. But i found an answer… http://www.abc.net.au. No auto play video. No auto refresh. Actual “news”. Nice.

  155. Shirt guy
    11 Nov 10
    4:46 pm

  156. it’s awesome how people say they don’t visit FFX sites now but are still so riled up by auto play … even though they don’t use the sites.

    what’s the problem. if you don’t use the sites why does it bother you so much?

    i hate the auto play but still use the sites, so in that sense I’m the one making the dumb choice. If i stopped using the sites I’m sure I wouldn’t be so pissed about it.

  157. chris
    11 Nov 10
    4:47 pm

  158. The SMH website reminds me of bad third world TV where you are forced to watch.

  159. Duncan
    11 Nov 10
    4:47 pm

  160. Earth to planet Fairfax….

  161. David
    11 Nov 10
    5:05 pm

  162. And they were out of the focus group before the drugs wore off of the 3 people they asked…..

  163. kevin
    11 Nov 10
    5:08 pm

  164. somebody give him 101 on the whole concept of permission marketing…

  165. carrob
    11 Nov 10
    5:20 pm

  166. I am getting the impression that Mumbrella readers, like everyone else in Australia don’t like the auto play.

    But you Mumbrella readers are only a small sample.

    Of people working in agencies and PAYING FAIRFAX FOR THE FUCKING ADS TO BE PLACED!

    So why don’t you not buy them from your friendly Fairfax ad rep?

  167. MattC
    11 Nov 10
    5:20 pm

  168. Um, no, I don’t prefer it. And the only time I’d have it play through is if I’m not wearing headphones and it’s a long article taking a while to read, or I’ve gone the toilet.

  169. brendan
    11 Nov 10
    5:22 pm

  170. Well, whoever said why does it bother me if I don’t use their site….it bothers me because it devalues video in general. And whichever agency person said they wouldn’t purchase that inventory is misrepresenting the standard agency ideal, you’ll just use it to try and hammer a lower rate, and then use that rate as a benchmark to try and drive a lower rate with other video providers – i don’t hold it against you, its your job.

    Companies like fairfax think they are doing something good for their business…but its counterproductive for not just them and their consumer base, but the commercial returns for publishers and advertisers alike.

  171. Tony Richardson
    11 Nov 10
    5:27 pm

  172. Who does the ones where you choose one of two ads that you’d least hate to watch?

    Sophies choice or what?

  173. "Fairfax Boss"
    11 Nov 10
    5:29 pm

  174. hey relax guy

  175. Peter Applebaum
    11 Nov 10
    5:30 pm

  176. Simple solution: get an iPad

  177. John Grono
    11 Nov 10
    5:32 pm

  178. A mark of good research is that it passes the “well that makes sense” test. Based on these (albeit unrepresentative of the entire online population) comments above and everyone I have spoken to about AP and AR (we’ll call that qual-research rather than quant-research for the moment), 75% play until completion seems increduously high.

    I call on Fairfax to have the methodology, data collection and data analysis to be made available for independent verification to test the veracity of this claim.

  179. nicky
    11 Nov 10
    5:39 pm

  180. I can’t believe she genuinely thinks this is true. I have actually gone so far as disabling flash (which causes me inconvenience and frustrations on other sites) so that I don’t have these incredibly annoying ads playing and slowing down my machine. I tend to open a lot of windows and tabs at once so it is too much for my laptop to handle if I leave the autoplay on, and it makes safari crash. I CANNOT SAY STRONGLY ENOUGH HOW MUCH I HATE AUTOPLAY – GET RID OF IT!!!

    Between this and the decision to get rid of Maggie A from Good Weekend, the SMH is seriously out of touch with my wishes as a customer (and I am actually a paying subscriber for part of the week).

    I agree with John Grono above, would love to see proof (as a researcher myself)

  181. Jonathon
    11 Nov 10
    5:41 pm

  182. @Eleanor

    On your last point:

    Video will be huge for news orgs in the next few years. But everyone will be doing it. Those who are good at it will win, and the majority will just flush more money down the toilet. Therefore fairfax ought to concentrate on making video content that ppl WANT to watch, rather than ways of churning more ad impressions that just piss people off. Ignoring what your customers want is not, never has, and never will be smart business strategy. Something that people don’t want will never be an ‘exciting’ media revenue opportunity

  183. Jim Blundell
    11 Nov 10
    6:02 pm

  184. Fairfax management coexist with the Big 4 Bank CEO’s and live somewhere in fairyland .
    I don’t go to Fairfax sites anymore because they gobble up my big-plan (for wireless) broadband allowance by forcing videos onto me.
    Wireless is the only sort of broadband available here in the sticks.
    But then most of what Fairfax have done online stinx.

  185. snoop
    11 Nov 10
    7:11 pm

  186. Amazing
    I never get past the ad.
    and as for that annoying popup in the bottom left of the page that really annoys me

  187. snoop
    11 Nov 10
    7:14 pm

  188. Manipulating stats and data keeps marketers in jobs.
    esp average ones

  189. Gee
    11 Nov 10
    11:06 pm

  190. Ah, having re-watched the video, NOW I get where that 75% figure comes from … she’s talking only about the video ads, not the editorial video content. So yeah, I can believe that 75% of people who don’t press ‘don’t play’ don’t manage to stop the 15 second ad playing before it finishes (or they have scrolled below it). They then hit stop after the editorial video starts (once they realise it’s playing)

    As for users preferring it …. um, I would to have them produce ONE name of a user who has said that. Certainly aren’t any on this site

  191. Just Sayin'
    11 Nov 10
    11:29 pm

  192. Pippa,

    your next prospective employer might google you.

    And if they do, you will not get the job.

  193. Jack
    11 Nov 10
    11:33 pm

  194. Wow! 75 per cent of Fairfax readers watch videos to completion? What a crock of shite. Anyone in web video land will tell you that you lose half you audience after 60 seconds – and that’s when they’re NOT just clips form Channel 10 news.

  195. john
    12 Nov 10
    8:11 am

  196. Pippa Leary, you are WRONG.

  197. steve
    12 Nov 10
    8:44 am

  198. laurie oakes wades in http://twitter.com/#!/LaurieOakes

    @LaurieOakes
    If he thinks that he’s off his trolley.@mumbrella Fairfax boss: users prefer autoplay video.

  199. Craig
    12 Nov 10
    9:33 am

  200. I mute the sound and read the article without looking at videos.

    In fact if it has a video icon I think twice about reading the article and sometimes go elsewhere.

    It is not the video that is the issue – it is the preroll ads (which I never watch).

    If advertisers wish to keep paying for me to not watch their ads I would be happy for you to cut out the middlemen and just send me a cheque every month.

    Cheers

    Craig

  201. Love! + Hate!
    12 Nov 10
    9:57 am

  202. WRONG. so annoying. especially with a copy story you are trying to read.
    waste bandwidth.
    annoying.
    loud.

    Upside
    – video view count
    -adserves

  203. keir
    12 Nov 10
    11:31 am

  204. i call shenanigans.

  205. Notmyrealname
    12 Nov 10
    12:13 pm

  206. …and we also just LOVE those SMH wrap-arounds.

  207. Evel Knievel
    12 Nov 10
    12:14 pm

  208. Woah, they’re in the hunt for a new CMS, but didn’t they develop the one they have now themselves inhouse? Could explain why they can’t get ajax to work for them… Ouch!

  209. Shannon Igans
    12 Nov 10
    12:36 pm

  210. Bwaaah ha ha ha!:
    >>Pippa,
    >>your next prospective employer might google you.
    >>And if they do, you will not get the job.

    Hi there Just Sayin’, welcome to the industry!

  211. Bourgonia
    12 Nov 10
    12:48 pm

  212. Fairfax sites are 90% functional, light, fast and blissfully video free if you disable javascript on them.

    Fairfax mgmt operates their sites with such little regard for the reader because we keep reading, and advertisers keep buying.

  213. John
    12 Nov 10
    1:12 pm

  214. just adding another vote to the “I hate autoplay video on Fairfax”

  215. Lamb Chops
    12 Nov 10
    2:25 pm

  216. accidently stubled onto another fairfax intrusion thanks to autoplay, this time its them advertsing the Fin Review on the BBC!! is nothing sacred anymore

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/h.....181696.stm

    at least its only interupting an Arsenal story.

    Gooner scum.

  217. Cyril Washbrook
    12 Nov 10
    2:38 pm

  218. You don’t need a “new content management system” in order to auto-refresh content without reloading the ads: that’s a blatant lie on Pippa Leary’s part. I don’t often accuse people of lying, but the only other alternative in this case is that she’s ignorant, and I don’t believe that to be the case.

    If Fairfax wanted to stop auto-refreshing the ads along with the actual content, it could achieve that within a few minutes by simply adding a short Ajax plugin. The technical capacity to do that has existed for many, many years and would probably add less than a kilobyte worth of code.

  219. Bourgonia
    12 Nov 10
    2:50 pm

  220. Yeah, the need for a new CMS is a crock, I know loads of (or at least 3) super smart and inspired developers at Ffx who could do it with tools available and a couple weeks to dev/test/deploy.
    But saying it could be accomplished in a few minutes with a plugin isn’t really accurate either, this isn’t some mommy blog on a GoDaddy wordpress site.

    I think Jack is more forward looking than this, but the pipeline rules.

    And you’ll keep reading. So will I.

  221. Alex
    12 Nov 10
    4:49 pm

  222. Guys,

    I wouldn’t go this far, I think video is a strong strategic next step for these publishers and there has to be a way to monetize.

    They are driving the demand and the market, I think it is weak to sit hear and complain – I am finding the video more relevant these days and quite happy to have it autoplay.

    Yes you could press play to start, though we all know that would cut out a large number of people who do end up actually watching the video due to the auto start.

    I would much rather Fairfax’s solution to making video appear more frequently due to advertising demand – or we could require the PLAY button press and watch the industry grow at much slower rates.

    PS: Does she call Tim – Jim at the end?

  223. Brendan
    12 Nov 10
    4:55 pm

  224. They don’t even need ajax, they could just put a bit of code in to make sure the ord=’s in their ad calls keeps the same value and their ad server won’t refresh the ads.

  225. Gooner
    12 Nov 10
    5:23 pm

  226. Lamb chops – OUTSIDE NOW!

  227. Georgie
    12 Nov 10
    5:43 pm

  228. Seeing as Fairfax’s metrics/focus groups/whatever are so obviously outta whack, thought I’d add myself to the list of people who loathe autoplay and actively avoid the website because of it.

  229. Duck Sauce
    12 Nov 10
    6:39 pm

  230. Even Justin Bieber doesn’t like auto replay video’s(.)

    Pippa where is your head at?

    Internet users are in the driving seat (they choose what they watch.)

    When browsing the net for news I want to pick and choose what I watch. Your sites are NOT ‘push’ mechanism’s in that regard.

    A 30 minute TV news slice on one of the major networks is ‘push’ and I will happily view it and watch what my preferred network chooses for me to consume. As a result I will digest content about subjects that I didn’t choose to read about online and thus be informed about the current affairs of the day.

    ‘Push’ and ‘pull’ Pippa – learn what they are and give your users what they want.

    Why on earth are you choosing to be so deceitful?

    With all the knowledge and intel you surely must have about your users, why the hell would you want to p1ss them off?

  231. Got It Right
    12 Nov 10
    9:34 pm

  232. @ Mumbrella – Well done Tim; I love the way I can choose if I want to watch your video on this page and it doesn’t annoy me by automatically playing… ;)

  233. @Drivelry
    14 Nov 10
    11:28 am

  234. Perhaps the exasperation with auto-play is slightly living in the media bubble here. If you look at TV data despite the presence of PVRs (Foxtel Digital etc) where you can just fast-foward through timeshifted ads, most people still watch them.

    Astonishing but true.

  235. William Felt
    14 Nov 10
    12:06 pm

  236. Drivelry, I’m not sure what data you’re looking at, but if you look at the recent Australian time-shifted data on a minute-by-minute basis, you can clearly see that there are minutes where the time-shifted audience is substantial and then it rapidly drops away to generally around 25% of what it was a few minutes prior.

    I have seen numerous examples where the time-shifting audience was around 150,000. and then that dropped to below 50,000 in the matter of a few minutes only to rebound – which I’m guessing is the ad break. The times when people tend to not fast-forward through the ad breaks (i.e. more than 50% stick through the ad-break) tends to coincide with very small time-shifted audiences in the first place.

    So your statement “most people still watch them” appears to be astonishingly untrue.

  237. Cornington Pleasant
    14 Nov 10
    12:33 pm

  238. @ @Drivelry “most people still watch them”

    What a fine example of an old media mind you display.

    The good old TV debate; people making cups of tea, or visiting the bathroom, whilst advertisements play.

    We finally have the ability to actually know 100% whether someone has watched my ad, with the digital medium and ‘old media’ brains want to distort it and pillage it, confuse it and take more money…

  239. John Grono
    14 Nov 10
    12:55 pm

  240. And Cornington, what a fine example of new media minds not understanding the true meaninhg and context of the superfluity of data at their fingertips.

    Interestingly, you also seem to think that people who use the internet neither make cups of tea or go to the toilet when ads are served.

    What you do know (server-side) is whether the ad was served – not whether it was actually viewed. How do you know whether there was someone present viewing the browser (the equivalent of the TV on and no-one present – which TV accounts for) or was the ad just AR’d. How do you know that the user didn’t have multiple browsers open and missed your ad? Or maybe they only had the one browser but your ad was served to a tab which didn’t have the focus. How do you know that your ad was served above the fold, or if it was below the fold whether the user scrolled down to it? You don’t – you assume it was. And we all know what they say about assume …

    Of course the answer is the click-through rate which is averaging around 0.3% – meaning 997 out of 1,000 do zilch with your ads.

    Though maybe that has something to do with a computer screen being cluttered with all sorts of ads, while on a TV screen you get 100% of the ‘real estate’ for your 15 or 30 seconds – which seems to have worked well in the past buidling iconic brands, and seems to be working quite well at the present … just saying, you know …

    Clearly online advertising has an essential part in communications planning – but then so do all the other existant media. I’m still waiting for radio and cinema to die .. killed by TV as all the “new media” pundits of the ’50s predicted.

  241. Cornington Pleasant
    14 Nov 10
    3:14 pm

  242. @ John Grono “What you do know (server-side) is whether the ad was served – not whether it was actually viewed. ”

    Mate, I guarantee that the percentage of video ad’s actually watched would be far higher if the user actually requested to view the video v having it autoplay.

    I am not in any way knocking traditional forms of media; (print like radio will not be totally killed off by digital.)

    I AM questioning the powers and influences at FD who decide to ‘autoplay’ videos when users are viewing written news pieces.

  243. franksting
    15 Nov 10
    12:19 pm

  244. Want to avoid all this crap?
    Why aren’t you already using Readability?
    http://lab.arc90.com/experiments/readability/
    #enoughsaid

  245. Mattrus
    15 Nov 10
    3:05 pm

  246. What a load of rubbish, the auto-starting videos is annoying to no-end. 75% of users’ watch the entire video? Half of these would just have their PCs on mute with the video playing a a hidden tab.

  247. nicky
    15 Nov 10
    3:50 pm

  248. is it just me or have they stopped using autoplay today??

  249. Anon
    15 Nov 10
    4:07 pm

  250. Autoplay video’s = WORSE IDEA EVER!

  251. AndrewL
    22 Nov 10
    4:55 pm

  252. @Franksting

    Thanks for the readability tip.

    I am now using it & it is brilliant.

    and +1 to autoplay being the dreg

  253. ed
    24 Nov 10
    11:54 am

  254. Autoplay. I don’t like it.

  255. Darren
    24 Nov 10
    5:05 pm

  256. They are absolutely kidding themselves.
    Who did they ask THEIR STAFF??

    Talk about LIES, DAMN LIES AND STATISTICS…

    Pippa O’Leary – EPIC FAIL

  257. Mark
    24 Nov 10
    7:12 pm

  258. Simple. It’s all about charging the advertiser impressions. Autoplay means more views to bill.

  259. Online Critic
    24 Nov 10
    8:52 pm

  260. @Mark. So what you are saying is that Fairfax Digital are a bunch of crooks then?

  261. Mark
    24 Nov 10
    10:06 pm

  262. They’re not crooks. It’s just the way it is. It’s good business actually. If it were my business I would do the same thing ;) It’s about maximising views and that’s a great way of doing it. But advertisers need to be aware of this when they see the figures.

  263. Anonymous
    25 Nov 10
    7:48 am

  264. AKA: Crooks

  265. NotBuyingIt
    25 Nov 10
    8:16 am

  266. @Mark. Autoplay does not ‘maximize views’ as the whole point of this backlash is that there are no views!

    It’s about artificially inflating the view numbers. Plain cheating and deception!

    Advertisers are aware of this and the solution is to avoid the medium!

  267. Not the NSW Government
    25 Nov 10
    7:15 pm

  268. @Mark – perhaps you should have a chat with a local education board to see if you can attend one of their new ‘ethics’ courses..?

    “If it were my business I would do the same thing” – then you would have to change your name to Cowboy Mark… I am sure that Nic or Pippa would be able to get you a nice cowboy outfit…

  269. is it me or?
    29 Nov 10
    1:27 pm

  270. Have they stopped them now? I haven’t noticed them on SMH (so I’ve returned as an SMH.com.au user)

  271. mish
    29 Nov 10
    4:38 pm

  272. Understand the value of auto-refresh – it’s a newspaper, it needs to be current as stories update. BUT! I really, really hate auto-play.

  273. Nigel
    30 Nov 10
    4:10 pm

  274. (Edited under Mumbrella’s comment moderation policy).

  275. Gottabe Kiddin
    30 Nov 10
    8:38 pm

  276. @is it me or? You’re avin a laugh intya?!!!

    It really is such a low thing to do by FD. All advertisers with video advertisements on FD sites – you HAVE to take action!

    This is where we truly need an independent bureau to regulate online publishers and set some rules(.)

    FD are letting agencies down, clients down and their staff down. Plus of course their users are getting a cr@p experience; so they are letting them down also…

    Autoplay vid’s; what on earth are you thinking FD?!

  277. James
    2 Dec 10
    4:03 pm

  278. In short they suck. However the 5 seconds one has to turn them off is a vast improvement from earlier this year when they played automatically. This forced me off Fairfax sites, after 15 years of loyalty to their products.

    I suggest all of who hate it ring Mike Van Niekerk, on-line editor in chief to express your pain. I know I did and felt much better about life!