Duh – People Prefer Streaming Channels Without Ads – During Pandemic or Not

Of course we don’t want to watch commercials.

Don’t need a pandemic to tell us that anything we pay for is better served ad-free. Thank you, Netflix, for setting the standard for streaming without interruptions (despite having the annoying auto-start on flyover). Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Shudder, DC Universe and most recently HBO Max are all ad-free. Hulu and CBS All Access offer an ad-free experience as a more expensive subscription tier.

Overall time spent streaming has more than doubled since March, when the U.S. and other countries largely shut down due to COVID-19. But growth has been slower for ad-supported players than for ad-free subscription ones, a pattern Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar said Friday proves consumers are getting more sophisticated as they adjust to streaming.

Ad-Free Subscription Streaming Growth Outpaces Ad-Supported Fare During COVID-19 – Deadline

There’s a place for ad-supported movie and TV streaming channels, but those services will not have the same level of support as the ones that offer ad-free options. I think the internet has given us ad fatigue. Popups, click this to get to the next page to see another ad and then the ever annoying read X number of articles and then it’s only pay to see the rest. I don’t and won’t be linking anything from The New York Times (and others who do the same) on this blog as long as they keep doing that.

Some clarification: I like previews and trailers and while, technically, they are advertisements, I support playing one short (30 second or less) preview before playing a feature movie here and there. Do I want to see 5-10 previews before a movie like they do at the movie theater? No, but one short preview I consider worthwhile and useful.

Heavy ad-supported channels like Crackle for me are unwatchable. Roku, IMDB TV, Vudu aren’t too intrusive with ads (but this can always change). I don’t really like the experience of watching movies or TV shows during the film being interrupted and the reality is there are plenty of streaming places that don’t do that. Sure, commercial breaks are commonplace in television, but the TV era — other than live programming — is dying.

How many ad-free streaming channels do you watch? How often do you watch them?

4 thoughts on “Duh – People Prefer Streaming Channels Without Ads – During Pandemic or Not

  1. Here’s the one objection that I have about your “I hate the paywall” attitude about the online content of The New York Times.

    Newspapers can’t afford to operate on a for-free basis model supported only by ads. Not only is it harder for anyone to earn any income (in print media or digital platforms) solely based on ad revenue, but ad-blockers and what-not pretty much makes it difficult for, say, The New York Times to earn that ad revenue alone. Print ads alone don’t cut it anymore, what with circulation going down and all. (And circulation alone doesn’t constitute the main stream of support to news media…ads do. And as long as ad-blocking apps are used….)

    Speaking as someone who studied journalism in high school and college, I tend to look on “I hate the paywall model” attitudes as totally unhelpful. Reporters need a salary, too, and since digital media is becoming dominant while print media flounders, who’s going to pay the aforementioned salaries? Ad-supported journalism isn’t hacking it, so papers (or news organizations, if you prefer) need to ask readers to support reporters, editors, photographers, videographers, and fact checkers by subscribing. Otherwise, the publishers can’t afford to pay them…and gathering news on any level (local, national, international) is not exactly cheap.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re completely misinterpreting what my concern is here. I don’t “hate the paywall.” Perhaps next time you might ask what my perspective is rather than attributing me with beliefs I don’t have?

      Look around here. Do you see ads of any kind? Nope. Guess who pays for everything you’re reading? Me. Will it be this way forever? Nope. But I guarantee you this: I will never, ever, ever show part of the site for a specific number of views (which can be bypassed by resetting your cookies anyway) and then force readers to subscribe to read it.

      Instead, there are multiple ways they could do everything you described and monetize the site.

      So, what I hate is the way they are going about it. Sell me a subscription to your newspaper — great, I’m going to support that model all day long. Don’t give me 5 articles a month and then cut me off and show me your “pay us or else we won’t show you what we have” routine, and meanwhile Google gives SE love to the site as if it is supplying the news. Um, actually, no, it’s not. It’s supplying a headline and then forcing readers to pay to read it. If you walk by the newsstand do you only see the headline? Nope. You can read the headline and then decide to buy it. Same at an airport. Does somebody come by and say, “Stop! you’ve read this newspaper for five seconds, now you must buy it?” Nope.

      But that’s the way The New York Times is doing it.

      It’s an unfair traffic proposal to the rest of those of us out here who pay for services as well, but don’t get that same search engine treatment. It’s fairness for the access media from Google and other SE and less fairness for you, me and everybody else that isn’t them.

      Also, perhaps more importantly, if I link to the source material but you as a reader are unable to fact check the source because you need a pay subscription, how useful and fair is that to YOU?

      I’m a free enterprise guy, having been on the internet for a long time. I’ve monetized sites aplenty and have no issue with monetization, but not in a dishonest, flawed way. When you show readers a few articles a month and then force them to buy, that’s a forced method of doing business that isn’t comparable to the experience you operate in the print world (or, gasp, libraries!). So are articles that intentionally fabricate clickthrus by sandwiching one article into 20 click nexts to read. We all know what they’re doing, they’re fabricating click-thrus to gain more ad impressions. Again, dishonest.

      Libraries? Remember those. Free access to read any and everything inside. Does that mean authors, book publishers, etc, can’t make money in other ways? Of course not.

      Let’s just be honest and do it the right way. Either set a subscription or not. The New York Times and others can go about monetization in wiser ways, but they choose not to do so. That’s their right. And so is it mine never to link to them as long as they employ such anti-reader tactics. I’m giving both you and I freedom to follow the source links and actually be able to read it without being forced into dealing with too many (that’s a subjective evaluation) ads and/or arbitrary paywalls.

      None of this is any kind of statement against journalists and being paid to do what they do. Look, Wikipedia does just fine on donations with zero ads. Why can’t The New York Times operate on a more articles behind the paywall structure? They could offer their paid customers more interaction and involvement. That’s how you can compete in 2020, not with the antiquated let’s make the freeloaders suffer model.

      But hey, to each his own, if you think their model is technically honest, we’ll have to agree to disagree. Hopefully, you understand my perspective as a publisher — which is what every blogger is, essentially.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Let me add on to my last comment but tie it into the post above which is about streaming services that interrupt our viewing experience. Ad intrusion in exchange for “free” access to movies and TV shows is a terrible proposition for those of us who’d rather use that time for watching more movies and TV shows.

    We all have a finite amount of time on this earth. None of us really, truly want to use it watching commercials, unless it’s the famed, creative Superbowl ads or cool trailers and previews for movies coming out. There is content that can be ads and ads that are, sadly, ads.

    There is a Crackle movie I saw a few months back that pretty much forever swore me away from their service. The movie was 90 minutes long run time, but had multiple, aggressive five ad plays that stretched the movie into nearly 2 1/2 hours. That’s like almost a 40% ad to content ratio. That’s crazy intrusive. The ads didn’t even come at logical breaks and intervals.

    My response? I paid a monthly subscription to a streaming service that had the movie running with zero ads. I won’t buy from the advertisers who gave me such a poor watching experience.

    Ad experiences like this work only in the short term. Profit for the company who shows the ads — short term — profit in that some people will be willing to deal with that many ads to watch a movie they want to see.

    Me? Hell no. I think most people, as I stated in the post above, don’t want to endure advertisements in the middle or even at the start of movies or TV show in exchange for a lower monthly subscription price.

    If the ad interruption experience is minimal then yes, some might be interested in paying to endure that experience. Ask all of them if they like the ads and most will admit they don’t. That’s the point if you’re an advertiser, do you want to piss off your prospective customers? No. Still, this is the foolishness that exists with ad-supported “FREE” movie/TV streaming services and the reason Netflix was wise to skip that bait and switch from the get-go.

    I watch some of the ad-supported streamers sometimes, primarily when they are the only service that has a movie or TV show that I want to see. For example, Roku has Batman ’66 on it. Ad experience is tolerable, so I’ll watch those from time to time. If Roku gets worse with the ads — and like Crackle used to be not that intrusive, it’s a possibility — I’ll bail from using them too. Voting with our feet is the only meaningful way to say “I don’t like this” to any business.


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