By Barry Flynn, Contributing Editor
New research released at IBC 2015 by Brightcove, which provides cloud-based solutions for multiscreen delivery, shows that European audiences are surprisingly relaxed about TV advertising (both linear and on-demand), with over four in ten saying they expect advertising if content is free.
About the same proportion cite advertising as a â€˜nuisanceâ€™, while 12% believe â€˜thereâ€™s nothing wrong with adsâ€™ and some respondents even saying they enjoyed them.
That said, 39% of viewers would like ads to be shorter, 31% want to be able to fast-forward through them, and one in ten said they should be more targeted.
The research, carried out for Brightcove by technology market research provider Vanson Bourne last month (August 2015), interviewed 4,000 consumers in the UK, France and Germany, dividing them into four â€˜tribesâ€™, roughly by age: Digital Natives (Generation Z), Multi-Screen Junkies (Generation Y or â€˜millenialsâ€™), Telly Adicts (Generation X), and Devoted Spectators (baby-boomers).
Interestingly, it is the youngest group, Digital Natives, which seems the most well-disposed towards advertising, although this varies somewhat by day-part.
While over half of this group say that if content is free, they don’t mind advertising in the morning, fewer (47%) are prepared to put up with it in the evening.
This contrasts with the oldest group, Devoted Spectators, which has the lowest tolerance of advertising, both morning (24%) and night (40%).
One of Brightcoveâ€™s takeaways from this data is that there is clearly an opportunity to maximize ad revenues where the content being offered is free. â€œBut to really ensure optimal ad engagement,â€ the company concludes, â€œbroadcasters need to be mindful of the type of advertising they are serving to the type of audience who is viewing it, taking extra care to consider the length of the ad in relation to the content itself and the relevancy of that ad to the content being consumed.â€
One obvious implication for ad-supported TV and video service-providers is that taking such steps could help minimize attempts by viewers to block ads. This is something that Mike Green, Brightcoveâ€™s Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Media, cited as the major issue the company was being asked about at IBC. â€œThe biggest story for us right now is the ad-blocker story,â€ he said, pointing to two complementary Brightcove products, its Once server-side ad-insertion product and its Perform Player, which help online video service-providers address the problem.
â€Because we own them both, they talk well together,â€ he said, citing their use by a major broadcasterâ€™s gaming site, which is frequented by a hard-to-reach young, male-oriented user base. â€œOn [their] desktops they have a lot of ad-blockers installed,â€ he said, but â€œby stitching the ad to the content on the server side weâ€™re delivering twice as many ads as they were before they had our products installed.â€
This is because ad-blockers generally work by detecting the boundary between the video content and the player-side ad-roll. Server-side ad insertion side-steps this by providing a single, seamless video-flow which is difficult to unpick.
Although Brightcoveâ€™s research suggests that 31% of consumers want to fast-forward through ads (a feature server-side ad insertion can block), it also demonstrates that by paying careful attention to context and length, among other factors, service-providers can take steps to minimize their irritation.