Commentary

Fewer Streaming TV Commercial Interruptions - But Tougher Ad Breaks?

So-called "peak TV" has declined -- that is, the number of premium scripted TV shows on linear TV and elsewhere. At the same time, there are more budding advertising-supported streaming options.

One reviewer claims it comes down to a decline in the quality of viewing of overall scripted entertainment content distributed by new ad-supported streaming options with some subscriber fees and the FAST services -- the free ad-supported streaming television channels.

He points to an ad message that comes at a momentous, end-of-the-film dramatic moment when watching a screening of the “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”movie.

That's when a PetSmart commercial appeared, in a free,-on-demand service offered by Spectrum.

But there are greater concerns among other platforms -- such as when advertising appears smack in the middle of a particular TV episode's scene with no warning, cutting off characters' dialogue.

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Perhaps streaming platforms still have their glitches to work through, of all types -- not just the ad-supported premium streaming options of the likes of Netflix, Amazon, or whatever, but those growing FAST platforms, where dozens of big and small services may exist.

The silver lining -- which may not be much of a positive -- is that overall commercial interruptions may be limited to four to six minutes per hour.

This is in contrast to traditional, legacy TV networks where non-programming interruptions (paid ads, promotions, and public service announcements) can total up to 14-17 minutes during an hour of programming.

Think about where this is going and what the now-established YouTube has been doing for a long time with its content -- both user-generated and professionally produced video. The Google-owned video service regularly interrupts all kinds of videos with its own timing. It does not always time its ad messaging to that of natural breaks in scene or dialogue.

The young audience crowd may be shrugging their heads about all this, especially when considering other types of new digital media when it comes to ad interruptions in the flow of content.

This is not to say that all streaming provides this kind of experience -- especially from those longtime legacy TV network-based companies' streaming efforts.

But one wonders -- in the pursuit of cheaper digital streaming and connected TV platforms -- whether we might be desensitized to video ad messaging interruptions that seem rough and yet also seem normal. 

1 comment about "Fewer Streaming TV Commercial Interruptions - But Tougher Ad Breaks?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 9, 2024 at 9:57 a.m.

    Wayne, two points to bear in mind. First, the streaming audience is not dominated by young viewers as they just don't watch as often as older consumers. So the median age of streaming audiences is in the vicinity of 45-47 years--which is younger than linear's norm of around 60 years ---but not a complete flip flop. 

    Second---- and this may be in part a function of interruptive ad placement in streaming and excess repetition---TVision keeps reporting that CTV viewers are less likely to be attentive to commercials than their linear counterparts---despite being exposed to fewer commercials.

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