from the jingle-this dept
I've talked about the coming and evolving world of wider streaming in professional and major college sports for quite a while now. Even measuring only the past few years, streaming of sporting events has seen immense progress, from the leagues themselves getting on board and expanding options, to broadcast partners opening up their product online, to forward-looking team owners recognizing that the future is in streaming. Wide-spread streaming sports is going to happen, due to all of the above and the fact that cord-cutting is simply not going to go away.
Which isn't to say there aren't barriers to hurdle as progress is made. Today, I want to talk about one of them: the horrifically small advertising inventory too many sports streams have. Ads that become annoying due to repetition isn't a new concept. There is even a TV Tropes page for it. But what for television is repeated ads as a mild annoyance due to poor scheduling or the notion that repetition makes ads more effective is something entirely different for the current crop of online stream ads. What we're dealing with today is repetition of the same ads or ads for the same products/services over and over and over again, in break after break, often times repeated within breaks, all because the inventory is too low.
Contrary to what you might think, this isn't a small problem. Not every person needs to use the bathroom at every commercial break. For sporting events in particular, this becomes a greater issue because the natural breaks in game action often times mean that commercial breaks will occasionally occur in near proximity to one another. Repeated ads in this case over the course of an entire event aren't just annoying, they're absolutely jarring to the viewer.
An anecdote: most of my NFL viewing occurs in my kitchen, typically using one of the streaming services, while I cook my family's Sunday dinner. It's a tradition in my house that I do dinners on Sunday. Having the NFL Foxsports.com stream on my tablet in the kitchen made my wife angrily leave the room entirely and refuse to come back. I'm not exaggerating. There was a particular commercial featuring a certain quarterback saying random things in the sing-song of a particular company's jingle that, over the course of roughly fifteen minutes, was played no less than ten times. It made her hate the stream, the advertiser, and probably me for having it on in the first place. Whatever advertising is hoping to achieve, the broadcaster cannot accept it causing viewers to literally leave the room in annoyance.
Television doesn't have this problem currently, because the ad inventory is much higher. If you see an ad repeated two or three times during a single game, it's no big deal. I'd guess that I saw three or four total ads on Fox's stream something like thirty times each during the course of one game. That can't go on. It makes the streaming product less valuable and less desirable. If advertising is content, and it is, then that content must never cause us to turn away and hide from it.