Are Netflix And The Streamers The New Ad Blockers?

Even when research tells you something that most intuitively already know, it can be interesting to have it backed up by extensive studies and laid out in statistics.

That's certainly true of the Kantar Dimension research out today, which shows that the general public really isn't a fan of advertising and that this is fuelling a rise in ad-free streaming services.

A lack of love for ads is hardly the most surprising takeaway, but the report goes further by identifying the main reason why. Not only do half of Brits feel apathetic to the ads that accompany them on their daily life, but just over half feel annoyed by the fact that they are using their browsing behaviour to follow them around. More than two in three, or 70%, have expressed their frustration about constantly seeing the same ads that follow them around. 

In a way, the good news for advertising is that more than half of the population doesn't feel that strongly about it and so presumably accepts it as one of those everyday parts of modern-day life that allows services to be offered for free.

The other piece of relatively good news is that ad blocking is remaining static at around one in five Brits. However, the Kantar researchers make an interesting point. There is now a new way to avoid ads -- by simply paying to join a streaming platform, such as Netflix or Spotify.

Nearly a third of consumers in the five markets surveyed (including the US and China) reveal that they subscribe to on-demand television and music streaming services because it means they can enjoy content without being disturbed by advertising. However, it must be pointed out that the main reason, for nearly half of the market of subscribers, is access to content that would not otherwise be available to them.

Thus, it's a mixed bag for advertising. While around half of us feel a little annoyed that we're too heavily targeted and get fed up with seeing the same ads repeatedly, the same proportion just accept it as part of modern-day life.

On the other hand, however, the researchers are also suggesting that, although it doesn't match the desire to gain access to premium content, consumers are actively choosing to pay for subscription packages that remove advertising from their box set binging and music listening. 

Either way, with just one in ten, or 11%, saying they enjoy advertising, it's clear that the bulk of the population isn't really bothered too much by it -- but there's a warning here.

Following people around with the same ad that relies too heavily on their browsing history (retargetting, anyone?) is as annoying for everyone else as it is for ourselves. Otherwise, people just aren't too bothered about advertising. They probably realise it keeps the lights on and funds services they enjoy.

Beyond that, don't expect much enthusiasm. But also don't expect too much of a leap in ad blocking. It's clear that consumers are happy to avoid ads by paying for an ad-free streaming environment, such as Netflix or Spotify.

1 comment about "Are Netflix And The Streamers The New Ad Blockers?".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, April 9, 2019 at 12:51 p.m.

    It's still a little pathetic to foist a "service" on the public that, at best, 90 percent merely tolerate rather than enjoy. Imagine any other line of work where you can tell your parents that you make or sell something that annoys people -- but not too much.  As I have written elsewhere, it was a necessary evil when content providers served an anonymous audience. Clearly, that's no longer the case. Even broadcasters will know their audience when TV 3.0 finally arrives at the party.

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