Cable “Ad Loads” Not Really Dropping

industry news

Saw this article this morning from Broadcasting & Cable about ad loads dropping slightly during the first quarter of 2016.  Ad loads (often called ‘commercial loads’) are basically how many ads are seen by viewers during a broadcast.

From the article, we see the difference between what broadcasters are saying will happen versus the reality:

Amid all the big talk by TV executives about improving viewer experience by reducing commercial loads in programming, there was only a 1% drop in ad loads during the first quarter, according to figures from Todd Juenger, analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.

1% is a tiny figure and digging down into the numbers a little more, we see that while some broadcasters like Viacom did reduce their commercial load on some of their channels, they increased it on others. The article notes Nickelodeon, which saw an increase of 8% in commercial load.

There are other factors in the numbers for commercial loads – some broadcasts like the Super Bowl have a lot more opportunity for ads and a lot more viewers, so that can skew the overall numbers. Still, it should be noted that while many analysts are stating that television advertising is dropping, many channels are actively increasing their commercial load.

This is relevant to us at NetCast Sports because our broadcasts do often have commercial advertising but while we are dealing with a similar medium to broadcast and cable television, our broadcasts are viewed on different platforms and the engagement is different. The experience the user expects is also different, although that adjusts over time. The amount of commercials being shown during some network and cable programming is significantly higher than what we have on NCSN and primarily that’s because we feel it infringes on the user experience.

At any rate, it’s an interesting note from very recent data that kind flies in the face of what many pundits have been saying in recent years; it’s not clear which trend may actually be the true direction at this point.


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