Viewers like AVOD… if the (advertising) price is right

We may all believe that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but consumers don’t appear to be quite willing to give up on the notion.

A new report says that a majority of consumers (53%) would prefer to watch video online using an ad-supported service (AVOD), than pay for an ad-free subscription service (SVOD). BUT, a majority of those users say that if they can find a way to skip the ads using technology, they’ll do it.

What’s it mean?

Hub Entertainment Research said it may not be the ads that are at fault, but the way that they’re delivered to viewers.

In its study, Hub found that 83% of DVR users skip ads at least “most of the time,” and that 60% say they skip every ad.

The most-often-used technique to guarantee a near fluid viewing experience? More than two-thirds of respondents at least sometimes pause a live broadcast for several minutes and then start watching. As for TV platforms that disable the ability to fast-forward through content, about half (45%) say that it’s a “major frustration.”

AVOD still holds interest for users, but it’s obvious there needs to be a change to make it less onerous.

Hub found that incorporating a lighter ad load, one ad per pod, earned the best marks with consumers and would help guarantee engagement with the ad.

Also scoring highly: ads more relevant to an individual’s interests, fewer ads that were more personally targeted, and ads shown based on product categories a viewer chose in advance.

And, just as perks can help reduce churn among SVOD users, as reported in the Q2 2016 Ooyala Global Video Index, viewers were positive about “gamifying the ad experience’ by rewarding users with points or promo codes for watching ads.

“Consumers say they’d welcome having ads more targeted to their interests and product needs,” said Peter Fondulas, Principal at Hub. “And what’s especially interesting is that better targeting of ads based on past purchases doesn’t appear to raise major privacy concerns.”

Hub points out that while a number of networks already are reducing ad loads, but that may not be enough. It’s more important to make sure ads are relevant to the individual viewer, something that programmatic ad tech and a strong analytics tool make possible.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn