Commentary

Digital Media Keeps Evolving Ad-Blocking, TV Stays Status Quo

Try to compare the ad-blocking issues that affect digital media to traditional TV commercial avoidance, and you won’t get a clear perspective.

Ad blocking wipes out ad content on digital sites and platforms. In contrast, DVR and time-shifting technology, which has existed for around a decade and a half now, requires TV users to manually fast-forward through TV commercials -- an imperfect system where some commercial content usually gets seen anyway.

Traditional TV users can’t “download” an ad-blocking app to eliminate all commercials (leaving out Dish Network’s AutoHop function for the moment). But, on digital platforms, traditional TV users do have a choice to see limited commercials or no commercials on subscription video-on-demand service Hulu, for example.

Now one digital media operator, Shine, which offers up ad blocking to consumers, now also wants to sell brands and media agencies tools that would rid them of fraudulent and bogus traffic. Left out of the mix: any possible business with publishers.

There is nothing like this for traditional TV. But here’s where traditional TV looks to follow digital media by giving viewers commercials they may want to watch and engage with -- with addressable advertising specifically.

Still, traditional TV platforms aren’t immune from ad-blocking issues. CBS, NBC, and Fox all say ad blocking has affected some of their digital areas -- with CBS noting, some time ago, that users using ad-blocking technology simply won’t get access to content. NBC and Fox said they were studying the issue.

Right now, all this doesn’t seem to be a major issue overall for traditional TV networks that own “premium” digital video content, probably because they believe they have the upper hand over pure-play digital media publishers in this regard, since they have alternatives in offering content on a fee-based, non-advertising basis.

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