SYDNEY: Australian advertisers are 'recycling' television commercials for use online as they tap into web users' booming interest in video streaming.

The surge in demand Down Under for internet video content has caught some marketers unawares, leading to a 're-purposing' of existing TV ads for want of tailor made online commercials.

The web boom is also is expected to make its mark on television broadcasters sooner rather than later, warn media buyers.

Says OMD managing partner Leigh Terry: "If you look at people's online usage compared to TV and how the two things are blending, it will involve a fairly significant amount of money."

He adds that when TV ratings start to measure audience "reach" across broadcast TV and online, the market will see a "big shift".

According to an Australian Communications and Media Authority report, over 25% of Oz house-holds accessed video content from the web in 2006.

And it appears that viewers are happy to view advertising alongside their chosen download: latest data from Nielsen NetRatings indicates that 36% of internet users are now downloading free videos and 33% are streaming free video content.

Just 3% paid for streaming videos and 6% paid for video downloads.

Ninemsn's director of advertising operations, Dominic Finnegan, says users of the site saw a "pre-roll" video commercial once every two video clips - one of the most aggressive video content-to-advertising ratios in the world.

He comments: "What we're seeing now is people accepting that if they want to see content for free we need to include some form of advertising, and as long as that advertising is relevant they don't have a major objection to it."

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff