In Live TV, Advertisers Don't Mind Paying For Commercials That Run Until Completion

While watching live TV, I use the mute button a good percentage of the time when commercials come on. (Sorry, marketers. You still don’t know what makes me click.)

But here’s the silver lining: Your commercial runs until “completion” and sometimes I even see most of it.

Hulu says it will now only charge advertisers for commercials -- around 96% of them -- that users run until “completion.”

To be fair, when was the last time anyone said they could fast-forward through a commercial that runs during an online showing of a full-length TV show?

Online, you have to watch almost everything to completion. If you abandon an online commercial, most times you are also abandoning the show itself.

Hulu will levy no extra charge for its commercial completion guarantee. Some facts: Hulu showed more than 1.5 billion video ads to viewers in February, compared with Google's 1.2 billion. In 2011, Hulu pulled in $420 million in revenue, a 60% gain over the year before.



Traditional TV networks continue to abide by the rules of completion. I have yet to see, in recent memory, any commercial that stops midway through airing without the help of the TV viewer through DVR or otherwise.

While advertisers get the completion guarantee for commercials they buy directly from Hulu, they don’t if they place ads on Hulu via buys from Fox, NBCUniversal or Disney-ABC.

Marketers say commercials with greater completion see higher recall rates and better overall brand lift. So completion is a good deal.

Putting aside time-shifted viewing, we understand the need to make sure consumers get a commercial’s message in one way or another.  But the usual complaints arise: Are viewers really getting the “message”? Are they fully engaged? Do they want to talk with their friends about it?

Media buying plans need to work harder to satisfy the appetite. Completion is only the first step. Real digestion is another issue. And I’ll un-mute when I feel hungry.

1 comment about "In Live TV, Advertisers Don't Mind Paying For Commercials That Run Until Completion".
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  1. GariAnne Gordon from SaveOurSoaps, April 18, 2012 at 4:39 p.m.

    Marketers and HULU: Please take note. If you show the same commercial, however short, 10 to 12 times in a row, the consumer will likely come to hate you.

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