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TV’s Customer Experience Continues Its Downward Spiral

File this under “and then they wonder why no one likes them”:

A new study from Verizon’s AOL unit shows that despite plummeting live viewership numbers, the amount of TV advertising is actually UP.

Commercials now take up an average of seven minutes and 30 seconds of every thirty minute show, versus seven minutes and 7 seconds in 2011. What’s more, the number of 15-second spots climbed to 37.6% from 32.1% over the same time period.

That means not only are viewers being subjected to longer ad pods but they’re also being subject to more commercials in those pods. Given that commercials are still largely served up by day part (as opposed to audience part), we can assume a large number of them are not even remotely relevant to the person watching, further exacerbating the situation.

This news is likely to result in champagne corks being popped at the headquarters of Netflix, Amazon HBO, Showtime and other subscription services that don’t show ads. They’ve figured out that nothing turns viewers off more than endless blocks of irrelevant ads. (Though endless blocks of relevant ads are likely not far behind.) It’s as if the networks want to drive viewers into the arms of the subscription services.

netflix champagne

We’re also curious what the advertisers are thinking.

Yes, TV has incredible reach, but with live viewership way down AND the likelihood that your ads will be crammed in with even more competing ads, why would you increase your TV ad spend? Common sense says you’ve got less of a chance than ever of getting your message through.

We’ve written before about the importance of customer experience and how that drives viewers into the arms of the newer, more user-friendly streaming services, but it always boggles at how tone-deaf the industry is to this need.

On the other hand, if advertisers are spending, then TV must be doing something right… for now. The way to capitalize on this however and to make the situation more palatable for viewers  is to start implementing Audience Parting.

Audience Parting, if you recall, is about using the data the networks and MVPDs have available to them to target specific audience segments, both during the original live broadcasts and on VOD and (eventually) OTT. While we’d advocate for shorter breaks and fewer commercials overall, making sure those commercials have relevance to the people viewing is a huge step in the right direction.

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And far less likely to drive viewers straight to Netflix.

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