News Limited to switch on autoplay video

News Limited is to join its rival publisher Fairfax Media and switch on autoplay video across its websites.

The move – which starts next week – was revealed in a story from The Australian.

The move will see videos start to play – preceded by pre-roll ads – when users land on a page.

Previously Fairfax Media was the only major publisher to run autoplay video.

Advertiser demand for pre-roll video has tended to outstrip supply, leaving media owners keen to increase the number of video streams they deliver.

One of the most commented Mumbrella stories of all time was when Fairfax claimed that autoplay video was popular with users. Fairfax later introduced the option for users to switch off autoplay – if they register and log in.

According to the Australian’s story, users will be able to change settings to turn off autoplay without having to register. This would presumably be achieved via cookie data.

The story in The Australian – which is published by News Limited – claims the move will be “popular with advertisers and media agencies because it increases exposure to their ad campaigns”.

However, media agency UM boycotted buying video ads with Fairfax over autoplay. At the time UM CEO Mat Baxter said the move was because autoplay was annoying for users and could make them hostile to advertisers.

A further concern for advertisers is that video ads play while the user’s attention is elsewhere. According to The Australian’s story, the videos will start to play if 25% or more of the video window is visible on screen. However, there is no way for advertisers to tell if their ad played while the user had their headphones in or speakers turned on.

At the time of posting, News Limited could not be immediately reached for comment.


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