There has been quite a lot of discussion recently about advertising around The Simpsons being more expensive for online broadcasts such as Hulu than on traditional television. Apparently the CPM (cost per thousand viewers) is $20-40 for a slot during The Simpsons on mainstream TV, whilst online services get about $60.

This got me thinking: for $60 you can get a video advert on Hulu. You own the screen whilst your advert is running, and the online services don’t let viewers skip the adverts. In the electronics industry, you’re talking about very different CPMs. On Elektroniknet, the rate card cost of a full banner (468 x 60 pixels, perhaps 1/15th of the page or less, and sharing the page with at least 2 other adverts) is €125 – about $175. If you want to buy a welcome advert on EE Times, the $7500 rate card cost is going to get you around 28K impressions – a CPM of almost $270, and the viewer can easily skip the advert.

Does this mean that the electronics websites are a rip-off? Obviously not. You’re going to get a much better quality audience to advertise components from EE Times or Elektroniknet than you would advertising to viewers of The Simpsons. It’s simply better value to pay the higher CPM on electronics sites. But with broadcasters such as Sky in the UK keen to profile their customers in greater and greater detail so that they can serve them “customised” advertising, and online video services able to use profiling from other sites, how long before we’re getting adverts for FPGAs or DC-DC converters appearing when we watch The Simpsons? When mainstream sites are able to profile for specific industries, we’re likely to see a lot of pressure on the pricing of advertising on industry-specific sites.