Inability To Skip Commercials Frustrates VOD Owners

Although video on demand is a big benefit to many TV viewers, one element of VOD activity remains a frustration: Not being able to skip through commercials.

A new report reveals that 41% of those surveyed say having the fast-forward function disabled on VOD is a major "frustration," per Hub Entertainment Research.

When fast-forward is available -- through DVR or other time-shifting technologies -- research says 49% of those VOD viewers fast-forward through every commercial; 56% skip every commercial when viewing from a DVR.

Hub says that ad avoidance is not the biggest reason people time-shift, "but it’s a factor."

Traditional TV networks have been counting on expanding their VOD services -- programming-wise -- all to monetize those offerings through TV advertisers, especially through dynamic ad insertion.



Hub surveyed 1,210 TV consumers ages 16 to 74 in February 2015 who watch at least five hours of TV per week and have broadband access. Of those surveyed, it says each viewers has an average of 2.3 sources (DVR, VOD, and TV network apps); 34% time-shift through DVR and 19% via VOD.

Some 53% of all TV time-shifting is done either through DVR or VOD. After this comes Netflix, 16%; TV network apps, 8%; Hulu/Hulu Plus, 6%; Amazon, 3%; a TV provider site/app, 3%, and 7% is attributed to other online sources.

Most of the airing of time-shifted programming occurs within three days of a program’s live airing -- 70% of DVR viewing occurs within three days; 58% for VOD; 68% for Hulu/Hulu Plus; and 67% from a TV network site/app.

9 comments about "Inability To Skip Commercials Frustrates VOD Owners".
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  1. Chuck Dunning from XETV-TV, February 27, 2015 at 8:15 p.m.

    This study is close to Nielsen, who's commercial ratings say that around 50% of ads are viewed in a playback environment. A contrast to those who insist "no one watches ads in a DVR'd show." Advertisers who insist on using "Live only" ratings are short-changing themselves-and the media.

  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, March 2, 2015 at 9:10 a.m.

    Amazing the lengths most of us go through to avoid an uninvited guest speaker in our homes. Yet some argue that people like to view ads or that ads can be made more relevant. Maybe, but I doubt it. What part of "uninvited" is confusing? It's like a serial abuser telling the complaining victim, gee, I thought you'd be used to this by now.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, March 2, 2015 at 10:30 a.m.

    Actually, Douglas, there is ample evidence that certain segments of the population are favorably inclined towards commercials and welcome the information as well as the humor in many of them. At the opposite end of the scale, there are those who disdain commercials and always try to "zap" them. The vast majority of the public falls somewhere in between these extremes and reacts to individual ads based on their interest in the product, something of relevance in the ad , etc. as well as its manner of execution. That's why advertisers who use TV are still getting solid awareness and sales results----despite the often arbitrary ways they plan media and their even sillier approach to targeting consumers when they buy TV time. By and large, TV ads still work.

  4. Terry Heaton from Reinvent21, March 2, 2015 at 12:41 p.m.

    It's vastly more about the time suck than the annoyance. One hour out of three in prime time is given over to marketing. I mean, come on, people! That's an enormous waste of time to, especially, younger people.

  5. Brian Nakamoto from Tightrope Interactive, Inc., March 2, 2015 at 12:51 p.m.

    I think people would be less frustrated about VOD ads if they weren't the same ad every time, or (gasp!) if they had better targeting.

  6. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, March 2, 2015 at 2:47 p.m.

    Ed, I wholly agree that TV ads work and that half the people don't mind. Small solace to the other half, but I will readily admit to being amused by the AT&T campaign with Rob Lowe.

  7. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 2, 2015 at 4:08 p.m.

    Doug, I did a study of about 15000 adults a a dozen years or so ago which offered some insights on ad receptives versus ad haters.At the outset, we asked our respondents a lot of questions about their mindsets, including attitudes towards ads, generally. As is typical in such research, about 15-20% of the sample claimed that they found ads to be dishonest, worthless, stupid, etc and gave every indication that they paid no attention to them, while another segment--roughly 15%--- felt that ads were often or usually amusing, informative, helpful, etc. The rest of the sample was arrayed in between. The questionnaire then moved on to TV program viewing, other media usage, product purchase and other matters. Finally, we closed with a list of about 500 heavily advertised brands, grouped by product class, and asked our respondents whether they had seen any ads for each brand in the past month---"yes" or "no". Not surprisingly, the results for ad likers were extremely high----often exceeding the 70% mark and hitting highs in the low 90s. But the ad haters, who, one might assume zapped every TV commercial they encountered, displayed a surprising degree of familiarity with the ad campaigns. Typically, 35-45% of them recalled seeing a brand's ad campaign with highs in the low 70s. How could this be if they really avoided every ad every time they had an opportunity to see one?

  8. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, March 2, 2015 at 5:23 p.m.

    Great observations, Ed. I often wonder if the the "ads suck" idea isn't most aggressively promoted by...advertising folks. Your research fits nicely with my experience. And, in the Hub research, I'm also quite cautious. Because investment money funds research that finds things to benefit that investment money. Hub stands to gain from this finding (at least given the positioning of the company on their website). That said, watched some VOD over the weekend with ads. They would have been fine if they had been real ads. Instead, the same ad repeated 5 or 6 times and 99% of the ads were for the station behind the program (SyFy). So maybe the finding here is that most consumers hate ads that are meaningless. Gee. What a surprise...

  9. Peter Fondulas from Hub Entertainment Research LLC, March 3, 2015 at 1:13 p.m.

    I second the comment about Ed's study--a brilliant approach and fascinating results. Also, as one of the authors of the Hub study cited in the article, we had a very specific goal in mind for this series of questions--measure viewers' attitudes and behaviors when they encounter ads during a "time-shifted" TV viewing session (vs. during a linear viewing session). In addition to the relatively large proportion expressing frustration when fast forward is disabled, we also found it interesting that when VOD IS enabled, large proportions of users take advantage of it. In other words--and no one will be surprised by this--current ad models have not yet cracked the time-shifting code. (FYI: The research was not sponsored or funded by any individual company that would have a stake in its results. The findings came from one of our syndicated studies that we conduct for a wide variety of different types of subscribers across the TV industry.)

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