Quincy Smith on Autoplay

In a two part interview (1, 2) with Quincy Smith on the developments occurring at CBS interactive, Staci Kramer says:

When I brought up autoplay as a way of piling up streams, Smith quickly replied: “That’s a cheap shot. We don’t do it. … Half of that is the decision of the content provider. … In my opinion, to open something and have it directly stream in your face and then count as a stream is a cheap shot.”

Thank god someone important finally said that.

8 comments on “Quincy Smith on Autoplay”. Leave your own?
  1. Matt Hoult says:

    Amen. Finally some recognition of the obvious. Only a few thousand important people to go then!

  2. Marc Rullo says:

    One important thing to note here is that autoplay and autoplay with a stream counted seem to be two different things. The cheap shot being discussed is that content, onload, should not be double-counted. When a page loads with autoplay, the stream becomes part of the presentaion of the initial content which is considered a page view already. But autoplay is acceptable provided that it is done in context and without a hit count for the first item in a playlist.

  3. Mark says:

    ESPN.com has the free-starting streams on their video (far right column of home page). It drives me effin’ insane. I see the play button, I can click it if I want to see last night’s Rutgers women’s basketball press conference.
    Disclaimer: I love ESPN.

  4. Mike D. says:

    Marc: I didn’t read it as a question of double counting. I read it as two things:

    1. Incrementing your video starts when a user never even meant to start a video and likely isn’t even watching it is an underhanded way to pump up your video stats.

    2. Doing the above is also an extremely discourteous user experience.

    I do think it’s fair game to “double count” a video start and a page view if the player appears within a browser window because it *is* a video start and a page view (i.e. there are probably video ads and banner ads).

    The reason this whole issue is important is that media properties are under tremendous pressure to show that they are quickly diversifying away from broadcast TV and onto the internet. So when a CEO of a major media company is asked at his quarterly or yearly meetings “how many videos have we streamed”, that number should be going up dramatically at every meeting. Autoplay is a cheap (and bad) way to help that happen.

  5. It’s most irritating when I have several tabs open, and each of those tabs contain autoplay streaming content. At that point I’m frantically clicking around to stop all the video/music so I can watch the one I intended to, in the order that I want to watch.

    It seems like it would be possible to write a plug-in of some type that would look for autoplay content and disallow it to play until the user has given permission. This isn’t the ideal way to go, obviously, but it’s analogous to a pop-up blocker and would do the job.

  6. His thoughts on autoplay are dead on. I never really thought about it from the stats perspective—I’ve only thought about it from the annoyed user perspective.

    His thoughts on embeddable clips are interesting, but I think they’re missing the point. It seems like they view embedded clips as yet another way to deliver a third-party ad. I understand his concern that advertisers’ spots may be inadvertantly placed on inappropriate sites, but I don’t think serving up ads is what embedding is all about.

    I think the point of embeddable clips from the CBS Evening News or David Letterman is to advertise those shows and increase their ratings. Although I’m completely in the dark about marketing for television and I don’t fully understand the extent of what they’ll be offering, it has been my impression that others in the field allow embeds simply for ratings purposes—the Viacom/Comedy Central embeds don’t carry any ads to my knowledge.

    Also, it sounds like the embeds they will offer are going to be limited to MySpace, AOL, and a few other “Distribution Portals”

  7. Jacob says:


    I know this is waaaaaaaay of topic, but I was curious if Newsvine has seen a steady increase in traffic since the McCain MySpace incident.

    I hope to hear that not only was there a spike in traffic to Newsvine, but you guy were able to convert some of that spike in traffic to new users of Newsvine.

  8. Off to bookmarks entitled “how to convince clients”… thanks!

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