Some of this evidence comes from advertising-supported services -- either individual streamers or those free, ad-supported services -- Tubi, Pluto, and The Roku Channel. And now, both Disney+ and Netflix are making an advertising-supported option available -- perhaps reluctantly?
One thing consumers may not be thinking about going forward with all this free stuff is the ability to fast-forward through ads -- or in the case of YouTube, skipping the brief messaging to get to the actual content.
Let's just focus on those virtual pay TV providers -- Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, Sling, and the like -- services that mimic traditional cable and satellite TV providers. Most now offer "unlimited” DVR options -- which allow for unlimited storage as well as the ability to fast-forward through commercials.
For years, while consumers complained about the glut of advertising on their cable TV and satellite services, they were always comforted with the knowledge that they could fast-forward through ads.
Marketers were not particularly upset -- because not all consumers fast-forward all the time, and aren't always effective at eliminating all advertising content.
But we are still in a growth stage -- (although it is slowing a bit) when it comes to subscriber gains for these services: Hulu+ Live TV leads with 4.3 million subscribers; YouTube TV with an estimated 4 million; Sling TV, 2.5 million.
The confusion for some consumers may come when signing on to those additional premium streaming platforms -- Peacock, Paramount+, and the like.
These companies have advertising and non-advertising options. With the former you can’t fast-forward through messaging. The good news is that there are only four to six minutes of ads per hour.
Now zoom out into a bigger macro-world view of streaming/CTV: What happens when the business slows in a more protracted way?
There might be some alterations and perhaps some cutbacks -- especially with the virtual pay TV providers. That could include different options when it comes to all things ad-related.
Given the pressure to eventually shift the business from a series of net quarterly losses to profitability, using an advertising component to adjust a platform's financial health -- even subtly -- could be a consideration.