I love the world we live where we can stream what we want, when we want it. One of my biggest frustrations with traditional entertainment programming was having to fit your life around the TV schedule, something which I refused to do and so eventually just gave up on watching series altogether because I couldn’t keep up.
These days, I can binge watch when I have a chance and actually complete entire series for a change. Do you know what also annoyed me about traditional TV? Adverts. Those annoying things that get in the way of what you really want to watch with the hope that they can convince you to buy something when all it really did at the end of the day was made me change the channel.
It’s something though which is perfectly understandable from a commercial perspective because broadcasters need to pay the bills and the easiest way to do this is through commercial advertising. Or billing viewers to death. Or both if you’re Multichoice. This is something which is no longer a problem thanks to the likes of Netflix, Showmax and Amazon who don’t offer any advertising and make ends meet through a reasonable subscription fee which they can only afford to keep so low because of the high number of viewers they can get, as they’re no longer restricted to terrestrial limitations.
However, that doesn’t mean that even the likes of the almighty Netflix aren’t tempted by some of the revenue that ads could bring which is why they have been conducting trials on it in the US with various series and audiences. A recent survey in the UK, reported by Net Imperative, suggested that 57% of UK subscribers would cancel their subscriptions if commercials were added to the streaming service. That is quite a telling statement that people have grown tired of rampant commercialisation and don’t want it interfering with their entertainment now that they’ve had the taste of ad-free viewing.
Now, it’s worth pointing out that the UK has for a long time had a pretty decent range of free viewing, so aren’t used to the concept of paying for things as countries like South Africa are. The survey also doesn’t make mention of the potential of lowered subscription costs should advertising revenue come into play and help offset that. Asking that specifically could alter the perceptions of how much advertising they would be willing to accept in this regard. Something US audiences in particularly (Netflix’s largest target market) would likely be more willing to accept.
Still, with Netflix and other streaming services considering some forms of advertising to boost revenue, they do need to think about how this could adversely affect their subscriber numbers which are their main source of revenue.
Personally, I think advertising is inevitable, especially if streaming services are looking to consider the likes of live sports viewing where the revenue is needed to fund the expensive sports rights. What I see happening is that we will probably see different tiers of subscriptions available, cheaper ones with advertising and more expensive costs without all the commercials – like Hulu has. I would be happy to pay less and am not completely against commercials showing up on my screen as long as it’s not unnecessarily intrusive and doesn’t interrupt my entertainment (play between episodes or before and after a movie).
I’ve already been put off by the number of annoying ads on YouTube, so if streaming services got that bad, regardless of how good the content was, I would easily stop watching.
What do you think? Would you stop watching Netflix if it had ads or are you like Trevor and just grateful for the toilet break it offers?
Last Updated: January 23, 2019