While a number of analysts would point to Netflix, Disney+ and others, some believe the ad-supported streaming model could boost high-production/scripted TV programming.
“There is a growing push to monetize these genres in an AVOD window, like Peacock or Pluto TV, or a hybrid AVOD/SVOD model, like Hulu or CBS All Access,” writes Michael Nathanson, media analyst, of MoffettNathanson Research. “We believe AVOD will become an increasingly important driver of TV ad growth going forward.”
In part, scripted dramas, comedies and other content seem to be the odd man out -- especially in light of the current ad pricing on traditional linear TV.
MoffettNathason Research analysis -- along with data from Advertising Age -- says unit pricing for TV networks scripted programming is down nearly 15% this year to $134,000 per a 30-second TV commercial. Reality competition shows slipped 8% to $152,000. On the flip side, NFL football programming is now 8% higher in 2019 to $507,000 for a 30-second TV commercial.
Not so ironically, these percentage gains are roughly the viewership direction each of these programming categories have gone this year.
How do networks make back some of their lost revenues? It goes to the usual complaints about offering a single currency for all program viewing on any platform to sell to TV marketers.
But to do this effectively, more ad-supported video on demand platforms (generating a decent level of impressions) owned by TV networks/producers and otherwise is needed.
At what price should these AVOD platforms operate? Consider the already low price of popular ad-free platforms: Apple TV+ at $4.99, Disney+, $6.99, for example.
How then to distinguish between AVOD (ad-supported video on demand) and SVOD (subscription ad-free video on demand)? Think free -- as in real free.
This is something Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal, had mulled over in the past. That is, bring in new streaming platforms akin to when broadcasting over-the-air networks started. Free-entertainment, ad-supported networks where the only consumer costs was a TV set and electricity.
These days, that total monthly utility cost has expanded a bit -- it's now electricity and broadband.
Offering ad-supported services -- like Pluto TV, Tubi, Roku Channel, but with much higher profile premium-scripted programming -- can create a clear distinction from a subscription platform. Free or pay.
Maybe that latter modifier accounts for what existing and new premium services mean by their additives: Plus, + and Max.