Fast-Forwarding Through Ads Still A Thing On vMVPDs -- But For How Long?

As it turns out, consumers are annoyed not only by higher pricing when it comes to their cable, satellite, virtual and telco video packages, but also by the potential increases for streaming and virtual video.

And what are consumers less concerned with? More commercials, apparently -- at least according to some research by companies or other groups with a vested interest.

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.

2 comments about "Fast-Forwarding Through Ads Still A Thing On vMVPDs -- But For How Long?".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, May 25, 2022 at 6:25 p.m.

    It's been a while since I posted this old comment: Commercials inside 21st-century TV shows are like ants at a picnic. Some people tolerate them better than others but everybody agrees that they are unwelcome guests, especially in narrative programs (not so much with sports timeouts). When audiences were anonymous, commercials were an utter necessity for revenue but subscribers are easy to track nowadays. At least we still have a mute button on the remote to cancel uninvited messages.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 25, 2022 at 7:44 p.m.

    Douglas, it's been some time since I  felt obliged to reply to your oft repeated claim that "everybody"hates TV commercials----or feels that they are "unwelcome" guests, as you put it. You may hate them and the surveys report that anywhere between 15-25% of the population also says that it really dislikes them---though that does not automatically preclude them from  watching a particular commercial of interest----or one they find amusing. But the surveys also rpeort that almost the same percentage of respondents have no problem with commercials and often find them informative as well as entertaining.

    The surveys also tell us that a significant percentage of the population---often, about 60%---sometimes more---accepts that commercials are a "fair" price for getting the programs they watch. Finally, TVision's "eye camera" panel reports that the average commercial is watched by 35-40% of those in the room just prior to the break. Now how can this be if "everybody" is so opposed to commercials  that they zap them ---or ignore them---every time they appear?Some commercials---sure---but every commercial----not likely.

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