A fifth of catch-up TV is advertising

Almost a fifth (19 per cent) of online TV viewing is disrupted by unavoidable adverts, highlighting the increasingly intrusive nature of online advertising.

The research, which was conducted by Adblock Plus in June 2013, surveyed 150 television programmes across the three terrestrial TV channels which feature advertising in the UK: 4oD, Demand 5 and ITV Player.

Advert content varied among the channels, with some faring much worse than others – on average, 4oD has 23 per cent of viewing time taken up by adverts, almost 50 per cent more than that of Demand 5, which only has 16 per cent of online viewing time taken up by adverts.

Comparatively, ITV player programmes are 18 per cent adverts, demonstrating that there is significant room for modification in the amount of adverts viewed when watching online TV, whilst still remaining profitable for the service provider. Some programmes were found to go as far as featuring up to 28 per cent of adverts during the viewing time.

Till Faida, Co founder of Adblock Plus, commented, “Online adverts have become more intrusive, with viewers unable to avoid these adverts whilst trying to enjoy their favourite shows. Adding to the annoyance, ‘on demand TV’ adverts now often state that they are ‘selected for you’ or ask the viewer to ‘choose the ad they want to view.’”

Till continued, “There is a real need for online TV ’catch-up’ providers to re-assess their advertising strategies, and try to better understand their users and what they would like to see.

“What is promising however is the fact that children’s programmes feature either no or very little advertising.” Overall, the study found that only 6 per cent of online viewing is taken up by adverts within children’s programmes, and 16 per cent of the children’s programmes surveyed featured no advertising at all.

Till added, “Obviously, we understand the need for these services to fund the sites, but there needs to be a better balance of advertising and the actual programme. For example, giving users a choice of either free content with adverts or subscription based content, without adverts. Until this becomes widespread, users will continue to download ad-blocking software, such as Adblock Plus to combat the annoying adverts and enjoy their programmes in peace.”

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