News Limited has introduced autoplay videos on it news.com.au and its metro mastheads, following a similar move by rival Fairfax two years ago.
However, the move has led to the publisher’s own media company, UM, to say it will not buy any autoplay pre-roll videos on the sites, a policy it has already implemented with Fairfax.
According to News the new system will go live on January 29 across the major metro mastheads after a “successful trial” on the Adelaindenow website, although no decision has been made on whether it will appear on The Australian’s paywalled site.
In a statement they told B&T: “The launch follows a successful trial on Adelaidenow, consultation with our commercial partners who want more high value video inventory and feedback from our consumers, who love video content but want to have more control over it.
“Our auto-play implementation gives consumers that control – they can stop the video, it won’t play if less than 25% of the video player is in view and they can switch autoplay off altogether across our network without having to register.”
The last point differentiates it from Fairfax’s system, which requires users to log in using personal details to block autoplay across the site.
However, UM boss Mat Baxter said despite the differences they would still be boycotting any autoplay inventory, with many media agencies skeptical about its effectiveness among audiences and fears it is actually annoying.
Baxter told B&T: “We will continue not to buy autoplay video as an agency.
“One of the reasons publishers are moving to this approach is there’s so much demand for video inventory, and autoplay increases the amount of plays.
“I’ve spoken to News and explained that that’s where we are at.”