Advertising's No-Win: People Hate Ads But Would Rather Watch Ad-Supported TV, Then Skip The Ads

In spite of the success and proliferation of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Go and other pay TV services, a new study from Hub Entertainment Research has found that most people (53%) say they actually prefer
free TV, where they “pay” by viewing commercials.

Though as much as people love their free TV, they hate the ads that make that TV free and will do whatever they can to skip those ads. According to the study:

- More than 8 in 10 (83%) DVR users skip ads “most of the time.” That includes 60% who say they skip every ad.

- Two-thirds (68%) of DVR users say they will at least “sometimes” pause their DVR at the beginning of a live broadcast, so they can fast-forward through ads. One-quarter (26%) say they do this “every time.”

- The majority (52% to 56%) skip ads “most” or “every time” on VOD and online platforms, when fast forward is available.

What’s more, when fast forward has been disabled by those nefariously nasty on-demand cable channels, many TV viewers see that as more than just a minor annoyance. Nearly half (45%) say that fast forward
disabling is a “major frustration.”

None of this is actually news though the study did go a bit further and try to determine what kind of ads -- other than today's standard –might be more engaging.



Consumers had the most positive reaction to three strategies:

- Lighter ad loads: One ad per ad pod (rated as a 9.3 in terms of likelihood to pay attention to ads) was the highest rated idea tested.

- Targeting ads based on relevance or product interest: Ads more relevant to a person's interests (8.1), fewer ads but more targeted (7.1), and ads shown based on product categories chosen in advance (5.9) all scored higher than average.

- Gamifying the ad experience: Earn points for watching ads (8.2) and earn promo codes for watching ads (7.3), and include countdown clock for when the show will resume (5.9) also received strongly positive scores.

In a brilliant twist of the fact that people simply hate ads no matter what form they arrive, Hub Principal Peter Fondulas said, “Conventional wisdom says that consumers simply don’t like ads on TV. But what our study suggests is that they don’t like the way ads are delivered on TV. Consumers say they’d welcome having ads more targeted to their interests and product needs. And what’s especially interesting is that better targeting of ads based on past purchases doesn’t appear to raise major privacy concerns.”

Until those targeted ads are served and then everyone will be like, "Nah, I didn't really mean that. I don't want to see any ads at all!"

Anyway, it's a no-win situation. Anyone for some content marketing? Oh wait, that sh*t sucks too.

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