Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Avoiding TV Ad Interruptions

As the holidays approach, gifts may include new Apple TV, TiVo, or Roku boxes, a Slingbox or Hopper or two, a subscription to Netflix or other services designed to help us avoid ad interruptions.  These products are popular, not just because they let us watch TV shows and movies, but because they let us skip through or avoid television ad messages.  And the more comfortable we get using these outlets, the more we seek them for our viewing pleasure. 

For content obtained off our TV, it is just as easy to record first and watch later with our finger pressed on the fast forward button every time an ad appears.  For cord cutters and those watching through OTT platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, shows can be viewed without ever an ad in sight.  We pause when we want to and not because an ad is present.  And so as TV ratings decline and we watch our shows on our DVR or mobile device, we can enjoy all our shows without those dreaded commercial break.

For advertisers, the challenge becomes watching ad rates go up for spots on linear TV viewing while viewership declines.  The economics seem off.  Consumers have grown tired of these ad interruptions with the only exception being big event programming like the Super Bowl where the ads become more interesting and note worthy.  For almost all other times, they are an intrusion. 

This trend toward ad skipping and ad avoidance with subscription programming will only continue to grow.  The current model seems broken and it may now be time to revisit the TV ad model.  Branded entertainment, product placement, show sponsorship may now become the ideal means to assure that advertised brands get noticed regardless of where or how the content is being consumed.  You can't avoid ads baked into the content of the show.  Till then, ad avoidance seems like to continue to grow.

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