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
    RadBag, 22 Apr 2010 @ 4:30pm

    Surely there can be life without ads??

    Many,(many) years ago Hockey Night in Canada was sponsored by Esso (Exxon sub in Canada) and then shared with Ford. The ads were highly transparent (you could see all the action thru them) and not annoying and the game went on. I never complained about those ads because they were imaginative and not disruptive to the action. They also didn't require a stoppage in action. These games took about 2 hours and a bit. They changed to "Official Time Outs" (or Commercial time outs). The game then lasted almost 3 hours and was very disruptive to a fast action game like hockey. The current system of stoppages has changed the strategy of the game (and not for the better, but that's another discussion). However, (a big however) given the choice of no hockey without ads or the current regime, give me my hockey! (could I be anything other than a Canadian?)

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