Streaming services are showing the same ad over and over again, and it’s driving me crazy

Over the past few months, Gardens and recreation It was my go to background view. It’s what I watch while doing laundry, trying to catch up on email, or playing a video game that I’d rather not listen to. The seven seasons of the show are All on the peacockwhich is useful, because like that the desk – View my other background. All this means I watch a lot of peacocks.

Sometime today, while I’m watching another half Parks and Rick An episode, an ad appeared that I suddenly realized I knew. And I didn’t just know that, I knew that every single word from him. The song, in particular, ends with “CroppMetcalfe is the five star!” That song stuck in my head for weeks, and it might never go away.

I don’t blame CroppMetcalfe, I’m sure he’s as good at air conditioning and plumbing as he is at making a jingle. I blame broadcast services. No matter what service you watch, I guarantee you’ll come across it: the same ad, over and over, repeats at every ad break until you promise you’ll never buy what they’re selling no matter how good the deal. In my experience, Hulu and Peacock are the worst culprits. But I recently noticed it on TikTok: tens or even hundreds of ads for the same product. For me it was the True Classic t-shirts that, a couple of days ago, turned hard into a board game called Doomlings that seemed fun at first and now I’m refusing to play. It’s an essential thing.

This song will probably be stuck in my head forever. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Advertising is coming to the world of broadcasting in a big way. Many streamers, especially those with a linear television legacy, embrace advertising From the beginning. Recently, including giants Netflix And the Disney It has adopted an advertising-supported business model, and both are planning to roll out new levels soon. In general, ad-supported broadcasting sounds like a great idea: most people can’t afford all the services out there, and ads allow users to access more services and more content without breaking the bank. Done right, everyone wins. Done so badly, it’s totally insane.

Already, ad-based broadcasting is mired in complex questions about user data, viewer tracking, and decisions about who is allowed to know what you’re watching and when. But I have a simpler request: Can we make ads more likely to be seen? If I were to participate in a whole season of Resort At Peacock, I look at about four ad breaks in a show, two ads each, over the course of eight episodes. That’s 64 ads. If you see the same two ads 32 times each, there is no way to get to the end of the chain.

By the way, there is a perfectly logical reason for this to happen. It’s all about ad targeting. Let’s take my last example, CroppMetcalfe. I am a new homeowner, in a corporate service area, with a 20 year old HVAC unit and we know it needs replacing soon. There’s a very good chance CroppMetcalfe knows that, too! I am definitely the target market for the company. But there are not many people in my exact situation, and Peacock certainly promised the company a certain number of ad impressions. If a million people fit the bill, no problem. But if there were 500 of us, and a million impressions to serve, I’d get a lot from that five-star song.

Everyone involved has a reason to fix this too. There is evidence to prove that people who see the same ad over and over again became actually less Probably To buy the thing that is being advertised, the customer was Complains about frequent ads for years. in Survey Consult the morning From last year, 69 percent of respondents said that ads on streaming services were either “very frequent” or “somewhat frequent.”

Unfortunately, it’s also a surprisingly difficult problem to solve. Even for a single show on one platform, ads can come from a number of different sources: the network itself, the set-top box you’re watching, and maybe even the manufacturer of your TV. The entire world of streaming advertising is a mess by all accounts.

But it doesn’t have to be like this! Some networks embrace the idea of ​​showing you a long advertisement at the beginning of an episode, and then nothing else while you watch. I love that. I also enjoy the paused screen ads, which are a perfect, unobtrusive way to tell me how to save money on my car insurance. The internet should make ads innovative and interesting again, but overall it’s still just digging the same 30-second point in my head.

As the number of streaming services continues to grow, there are more platforms competing for the same dollars, and there is no underlying technology to make sure you don’t see the same ad on TikTok, Netflix, YouTube, and Disney Plus. Which means you definitely will Watch the ad in all of those places. The TV advertising business is huge, and that money is quickly heading to the platforms. Without some sort of change in the way the money moves, the ads that come out of it will make all those platforms unwatchable.

Disclosure: Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, is also an investor in Vox Media, the parent company of The Verge.

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