Seraj Bharwani, Chief Strategy Officer of AcuityAds, put it more plainly: “Ad loads of 20 minutes and more per hour destroyed broadcast TV.” He says it doesn’t help that rising adoption of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ -- ad-free streaming at comparably inexpensive costs to consumers -- is helping much, either.
For over 20 years, TV consumers have been able to skip TV commercials. At the start, they may have felt this was revolutionary -- time-shifting technology was a breakthrough.
What’s the problem now? All these years later, modern TV consumers want it even easier.
They don’t want to bother with trying to master subtle, tactile thumb moves on TV remotes to skip every nanosecond of TV advertising.
In return for this ease, they will still get less advertising -- at least with streaming services that promise a slight five minutes of ad time per program hour.
Over the last several years, networks began proselytizing cutting back on that 20 minutes per hour of non-program content time -- stuff that includes paid-national TV advertising, local TV advertising, and on-air promos.
But as of today, the bottom-line result has showed little overall progress. This isn’t to say that some networks have tried. But it can be difficult when traditional TV viewing keeps plummeting, and advertising slipping.
Follow the trends lines in both directions: How fast can TV boost streaming services' ad revenues versus drifting lower live, linear TV ad revenue?
In the streaming world, advertising supply has a theoretically unlimited ad supply -- even with that limited five minutes or so of ad time per hour. Legacy TV networks can open up huge libraries of content for streaming, which can be ad-supported.
This isn’t possible on limited broadcast and cable TV network schedules. Still, much of this depends on getting viewers to raise "time spent" with services.
And then figure out what remains for ad avails on those linear TV network schedules.
The hope comes in the form of addressable advertising -- a process that enables marketers to micro-target their key consumers with little to no waste. For marketers, the downside means it’ll cost more to ensure highly valuable targeting. This is where TV networks hope to make up ground.
At this year’s upfront, all major TV network groups talked up addressable and advanced advertising as a competitive advantage against digital media platforms. Marketers aren’t giving up on legacy TV media; they still yearn for its massive reach and scale.
The question is: What will those traditional advertising loads per hour look like five years from now on CBS’ “Young Sheldon” or NBC’s “The Voice”?
Even then, will consumers still stand for that 20 minutes per hour of non-program time? How about 10 minutes an hour? Five minutes? Go lower.