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Spotify Introduces Video Advertising for its Free Subscribers

September 8, 2014 - Written By Cory McNutt

One of the most annoying little things in life is sitting through an advertisement – especially when you are watching TV. Listening to one on the radio is another matter, because you can ‘tune them out,’ so to speak by letting your mind wander, however, captive in front of the TV, you are forced to watch the ad, go to the kitchen for some snacks or make a quick trip to the bathroom.  Listening on the radio, you can daydream about something else or concentrate harder on what you are doing. Spotify, a free radio streaming service with 40 million viewers, is trying to change the landscape of radio listening by forcing its customers to now endure video ads as well as the normal commercials or popup ads.  This continues a real push to entice users to sign up for their premium paid serve – which is totally ad-free.

Back-in-the-day, a radio was a box that sat on your desk or a portable one you took with you – there was no display, so video advertising was not an option, in fact, at times they would run a commercial you saw on TV on the radio and it somehow lost a little in the translation.  But with smartphones and tablets now serving us many functions – music streaming one of the most used ones – all have a big, beautiful display…and Spotify figures they may as well use that to their advantage, so they are now adding video advertising – of course, it only works when you don’t have the app minimized.

Spotify’s pitch to advertisers is that their listeners spend an average of 146 minutes on Spotify daily – and that they will pump out their services 24/7/365.  Not only that, but their listeners share tracks, playlists, artists, and albums, and that two-third of that sharing spreads to social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and so on.  Spotify also points out that their users are listening to three-times the music as they were last year, giving advertisers even more of a chance to reach their customers.

Spotify has been pushing to get its subscribers to sign up for their premium paid service, but so far only about a fourth of them have done so – that leaves 30 million users still listening free…they are apparently hoping that video ads might get their users to part with about $10 a month.  Video advertisers can take one of two options – the ‘Video Takeover’ allows advertisers to ‘own’ the ad break time in either 15 or 30 second spots.  They are also offering a ‘Sponsored Session’ which are aimed at mobile users – listeners are actually invited to opt-in to viewing short videos and in exchange for their viewing the video, subscribers will be entitled to a free 30-minutes of ad-free music listening.

Spotify already has a number of big name companies lined up for its video advertising – McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Ford, NBC Universal Pictures, Kraft, Target, and more.  Banner ads will still be visible if you are interacting with the device and spoken ads will still be used – although you can turn down the volume – but the video ads will only work if the app is not minimized…although I guess you could turn you head to avoid them.  It is still going to be interesting how effective they really are – I know when I am listening to music, my attention is normally on what I am doing, not on my device.  Oh no, does this mean that Samsung’s ‘eye’ will let my advertisers’ know if I am actually looking at my screen…this could get scary!

Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know if you are a Spotify user and how these new video ads are affecting your listening pleasure…as always, we would love to hear from you.