Consumers have no love for online video's cruddy, repetitive commercials, study says

Those who have spent any time watching ad-supported online video are painfully familiar with the grueling amount of repeat ads they're subjected to. And a new Strata Marketing survey concurs, finding that a big chunk of consumers consider OTT ads more annoying than television ads.

"Seventy-six percent of those in the 60+ age bracket and 61% of those in the 45-60 demographic found both types of video ads to be just as intrusive. Younger viewers aged 18-29 and 30-44 responded at lower rates of 52% and 54%, respectively," a Strata post said.

The advertising software vendor surveyed 675 U.S. adults online in mid-June, with the demographic split almost evenly between men and women.

Repeat ads led 16 percent of respondents to skip those ads (when they could). Another 15 percent said that poor targeting leads them to skip ads online. And while online ads usually function correctly, only 10 percent of respondents said that those ads were properly targeted toward them.

"While perhaps unsurprising, the survey results are a warning for the long list of publishers, digital companies and media companies that are pushing more and more video content online…" a Wall Street Journal article said.

BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield recently described a "torturous" experience trying to access the second season of The Americans online, through FX's viewing app. "These 60-90 second ad breaks quickly became tortuous due to the repetition of the ads," he writes. "Some days we were shown the same two commercials during every single ad break (Audi and Burger King). Other days we ended up with the exact same ad (Audi) running three times during every commercial break (and remember fast-forwarding was disabled)."

But according to another study, it doesn't have to be that way. An Annalect survey of about 1,300 viewers found that many binge viewers (those who watch three or more episodes of the same program on any device) are annoyed by online ads, but 49 percent of those surveyed said that "ads come with the territory" and that they would watch them if it lowered their subscription rate.

Strata's survey responses fell along that line as well, with about 85 percent of 45-60 year-olds saying they didn't want to shell out money for a premium subscription to avoid having to watch ads.

Opinions like that could bolster speculation that some SVOD providers may be looking at ad-supported models. Amazon, for example, added free episodes of select TV series to its iOS app for non-Prime subscribers, with ads showing before and after the episodes.

But if OTT providers want that buy-in, the advertising experience must continue to improve.

"TV Everywhere not only feels more like TV Not Everywhere, but the consumer experience/viewing rules are nowhere near what they need to be," Greenfield wrote.

Annalect binge viewing

Advertising sentiments among binge-viewers. (Source: Annalect)

For more:
- see Strata's post
- WSJ has this story
- and this story
- see this Annalect post

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