November 12, 2022

Netflix with ads (first impressions)

Marketers refer to the nonlinear (video on demand) streaming business as "connected TV" or CTV. Ads for CTV are packaged in "pods," meaning "multiple ads sequenced together and played back-to-back within a single ad break."

Tubi has the lightest ad load of the ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) services. Another reason to like Tubi.

Ads [on Tubi] take up 4–6 minutes per hour of viewing, occurring every 12–15 minutes at 3–5 ads per pod, giving advertisers increased brand recognition and recall in an environment where the viewer is most receptive.

My experience with Tubi is that every program starts with a single "bumper" ad and then between 2–4 and 3–6 ads per pod.

For the time being, Netflix has delivered a lighter ad load than Tubi with its new ASVOD (ad-supported subscription video-on-demand) service. Though as Jay Peters points out, the ad placement is all over the place. Netflix with ads is a beta product still in the shakeout stage.

The transitions between the content and the ad pod can be so abrupt as to be jarring. Simply getting the timing right, along with a fade out and fade in, would make a big difference.

Netflix should consider the National Geographic approach. I grew up with the magazine, which only placed ads before and after the editorial content. (Even for a middle-class kid, those ads, aimed at an audience with deep pockets, could be as exotic as the articles themselves.)

Another pending problem is that not all content will be available on the ASVOD tier. In most cases, this simply means that the licensing agreements have to be renegotiated in order to divvy up the ad revenue.

"Netflix continues to haggle with several major studios for the right to run ads against their content in the new service" so this list is in flux. Unavailable content is displayed with a little padlock icon beneath the title.

I resubscribed to Netflix in large part to catch up on Komi Can't Communicate, Ghost in the Shell: SAC 2045, Ultraman, and I'm Old Enough! (which I first saw on TV Japan many years ago), all of which are available.

The current Apple TV app doesn't support ad insertion at all (they're working on it), one consequence of Netflix wanting to get a jump on the Disney+ ASVOD launch in December. But no problem, I'm a Roku guy.

Then there's the question of whether to use the ASVOD tier at all. When Netflix launched the service, it also increased the video resolution of its Basic tier to 720p. Frankly, it's probably worth the three bucks to get rid of ads altogether.

On the other hand, Netflix was a pioneer in the streaming business, and together with Microsoft (engineering the underlying technology), I'm sure they will be innovating in the ad space as well. So I'm going to stick with the ASVOD tier a while longer to see how it develops.

Related posts

Tubi (update 4)
I'm Old Enough
Netflix with ads
Netflix with ads (content)

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