How To Get People To Watch TV Ads: Don't Stop The Program While You Show Them

from the good-luck-with-that dept

TV broadcasters have long struggled with how to deal with DVRs and how they allow users to skip over commercials. Perhaps the favored approach has been to come up with technological responses to try and prevent people from fast-forwarding; fewer companies have figured out that advertising is content, and needs to be treated as such. Viewers need to be given a reason to watch ads, whether it's simply entertainment or because the content offers some other value. Another idea that's being tested: not stopping the show during ad breaks. On one show on CNN, when the ads start, the studio cameras keep rolling, showing "behind-the-scenes" footage in a small box in the corner. The belief is that if there's still some bit of "program content" going, it will be enough to keep people from flipping channels or skipping ahead, even if it is just paper shuffling and makeup being touched up. It's an interesting proposition, but once viewers realize they're not missing anything of value, won't they switch away or fast-forward? And if the program content actually is valuable, won't people just not pay attention to the ads? The problem here seems to be that this is just an effort to recreate a captive audience. But without offering anything of value to the viewer -- whether it's the ads themselves or this "program content" -- they're not going to stick around and suck up the ads.

Filed Under: advertising, dvrs, tv
Companies: cnn


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  1. identicon
    Rick, 21 Apr 2010 @ 5:05pm

    It's fairly obvious few of the above commenters have seen what CNN is doing. It's being used on John King USA, since Carlo neglected to mention it for some reason. It's also not new.

    Anyway, I like it. Besides the little mini screen of the studio, which is interesting, they also keep a News ticker going. The ticker is what keeps me watching rather than skipping or leaving the room for the commercials. All of this is packaged into a banner no larger than the standard banner on the bottom of any cable news screen. It's very similar to how Bloomberg Newsz has done forever...

    The little mini-screen is simply the studio between commercials - you dot lose the ability to actually see any content. The only content is actually the new ticker, which adds value to the commercial(s) running above the banner.

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