from the evolving-dinosaurs dept
Nielsen data suggests that ad time per hour on has gone up from 14:27 to 15:38 minutes per hour on cable, and 13:25 to 14:15 minutes per hour on broadcast -- since 2009. When all the ads wouldn't fit, they'd just edit or speed up the programs, or utilize more product placement. All while raising rates on consumers at four times the pace of inflation. But there's a small indication that the cable and broadcast industry may have finally started realizing they can no longer get away with this in the Netflix age.
With ratings in free fall and cord cutting (and "cord never") numbers giving some executives indigestion, Discovery and Fox recently acknowledged they've been running fewer ads during their prime time programming. Time Warner last week also declared it had seen the light, acknowledging it was going to lessen the ad load specifically on its networks aimed at Millennials:
"We know one of the benefits of an ecosystem like Netflix is its lack of advertising,” Howard Shimmel, chief research officer at Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting, said in an interview. “Consumers are being trained there are places they can go to avoid ads."Even Viacom, which had been leading the charge to stuff more ads in each hour, appears to have suddenly realized that something has to change:
"Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman talked about cutting ad loads during an investor conference in September. Viacom has been working on non-Nielsen metrics to sell advertising as more of its younger viewers watch on non-traditional platforms..."With those kicking in we’ll be in position—we’ve been talking to a lot of advertisers about it, which they like—to reduce ad load in primetime across our networks, which will improve the consumer experience and drive pricing," Dauman said.Granted we're not out of the deep, dark denial woods quite yet. These companies may be cutting ad load but they're just charging more for the same ads, hoping they can rebalance the books and ignore the Internet video revolution waiting in the wings. Many other execs still see cord cutting as a bit of a fad, one that will reverse itself once Millennials procreate. The reality is that you'll know the cable and broadcast industry is finally taking Internet video seriously when they do the one thing most of the industry's execs are utterly terrified of: competing on price.