Advertising Innovator Ultramercial Solves the Threat of Ad Skipping and Ad Blocking Online and on TV

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Ultramercial's unique "ad-as-payment" model repositions advertisers as the providers of content, rather than the interrupters. Viewers see that 30 seconds of their time will "earn" them a premium entertainment experience.

As far as ad blocking software is concerned, if a viewer specifically blocks our ads, they'll simply not get the content that's waiting for them after the ad

Cross-platform advertising innovator Ultramercial LLC has tackled a huge problem for advertisers: the intentional skipping and blocking of commercials by viewers both online and on television. Ultramercial's patented solution leverages both human engineering and computer engineering.

"It's a two-part solution," said Ultramercial's CEO Dana Jones. "Part one is human behavior. We dramatically change the value proposition between the viewer and the advertiser. The viewer gets a huge immediate upside from spending 30-seconds with the sponsor. This is usually free access to normally restricted content like premium TV shows, games, upscale financial reports, even WiFi access at airports and hotels."

"We tell the viewer that the advertiser is paying their way in. It's up to the viewer to choose the ad in an honest upfront proposition that makes the advertiser's presence crystal clear," added Jones.

"Part two involves our technical deployment," said Jim Smith, Ultramercial's Chief Technology Officer. "We are integrated into the backend of each of our partners' sites. We keep their content or services sequestered until the viewer has completed our commercial. Of course we're very respectful of the viewer. We offer an 'Exit Early' choice to leave the ad, which provides the viewer the option to purchase the content or to be taken back to the content partner's home page with no special privileges."

"As far as ad blocking software is concerned, if a viewer specifically blocks our ads, they'll simply not get the content that's waiting for them after the ad," continued Smith. "By turning off the blocking software, viewers can jump right back in. What's cool is that virtually no one blocks our ads."

How badly do people want to block or skip regular ads, both online and on TV? Consider this:

  • AdBlock Plus, a free plug-in for Firefox browsers that does away with web-based ads, has been downloaded 26,687,252 times, with new converts being added at more than 250,000 a week, according to Firefox's web site.
  • On the TV side, as many as 85% of consumers who own a DVR, skip 75% or more of ads today, according to an Oliver Wyman consumer study conducted this year. With DVR penetration currently at 23% and expected to hit 37% by 2012, according to IPG's Magna Global, this is a serious matter.

Yet the truth is that advertisers underwrite the entire cost of most media. Widespread ad-skipping and ad-blocking is already wrecking havoc, with Nielsen now measuring time-shifted viewing habits where viewers often fast-forward through the commercial breaks.

"Our solution for the advertiser is to only charge when a viewer chooses to engage with their commercial," Jones added. "Since we measure individual ad starts and all other engagement activities, our cost-per-engagement pricing takes all the worry out of blocked, skipped or ignored ad inventory."

Ultramercial's ad model has been adapted by dozens of web properties, from The Economist to and, and has moved into mobile with Virgin Mobile's Sugar Mama program and into mobile WiFi access at leading airports such as Denver International.

The company is now building a similar Cable TV 2.0 solution, around a second patent currently pending at the USPTO.

"This is the next logical step for TV. Our solution offers a guaranteed two-way engagement for the advertiser, with all the capabilities of our Internet solution, like offering more information inside the ad, even offering the ability to purchase a product," added Jones.

But what about the willingness of viewers to interact within the format?

"Making the relationship between the viewer and the advertiser honest and active has produced interactive metrics that are astonishing," said Janelle Amrhein, the company's director of ad sales, west coast. "Our average click-through rate across all our partners for the first three quarters of 2008 is 4.03%, with viewers spending an average of 77 seconds per commercial, when they need only spend 30 seconds."

"The truth is that Ultramercial viewers are glad they have our option," said Jones. "Giving 30 seconds of your time to an advertiser is far more appealing than spending money to access the Internet at an airport, or buying a new premium TV show. Our repositioning of the advertiser as the provider of quality content and services encourages viewing instead of skipping or blocking our ads. And with hundreds of millions of completed engagements, it's clear our model is working."

About Ultramercial, LLC
Ultramercial, LLC markets its patented business model and ad unit that grants Internet users free access to premium content after choosing to watch and engage with its full-screen multi-page commercials. Ultramercial, LLC is privately held, headquartered in Palos Verdes Estates, California with offices serving Los Angeles, New York and Detroit. The company maintains contracts with a network of online publishers and advertisers. Information is available at Ultramercial is a registered trademark of Ultramercial, LLC. IP protected by US Patent 7,346,545, with additional patent pending.


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