Axios Pro Exclusive Content

TV marketers push for more innovative ad formats

Oct 18, 2023
Kerry Flynn, DirecTV's Matt Van Houten, FreeWheel's Mark McKee, Yahoo's Beau Ordemann and TelevisaUnivision's Seema Patel seated in white chair on a stage with a green and pink background

Kerry Flynn, DirecTV's Matt Van Houten, FreeWheel's Mark McKee, Yahoo's Beau Ordemann and TelevisaUnivision's Seema Patel. Photo: Jonathan Able

The rise in popularity of ad-supported streaming services provides more opportunities for creative ad formats, industry executives tell Axios at Advertising Week New York on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Platforms have invested in these new ad formats but haven't seen significant ad dollars move there.

What they're saying: "We're all so tired. We have so much ad fatigue with the 30-second ad," said Matt Van Houten, senior vice president, product, operations and business development at DirecTV.

  • "You now have an opportunity to delight, create positive, non-disruptive experiences in the guide, in the user interface," he continued. "You have an active leaned-in customer."
  • "I haven't seen people take advantage of the container called the 3o-second slot and evolve it enough to meet what we can do today," said Mark McKee, executive vice president, general manager of FreeWheel.

Zoom in: Even if TV viewers use ad-supported services, they don't necessarily watch the ads. Only a third of connected TV ads garner two or more seconds of active consumer attention, according to a study from Yahoo and Publicis Media.

  • "Does that mean a TV is not a good medium? Absolutely not," said Beau Ordemann, vice president, head of advanced TV sales and strategy at Yahoo. "It's really important as a marketer to understand what are the drivers of attention."
  • Yahoo's research found that attention dwindles more with younger TV viewers, supporting the need to "experiment," Ordemann said.
  • TelevisaUnivision has introduced shoppable ads, pause ads and other advanced ad formats to its streaming service, ViX, said Seema Patel, senior vice president, data enterprise.

Of note: Netflix, which introduced ads about a year ago, announced its new ad formats during a presentation Tuesday.

  • "Binge" ads let users stream an episode without ads by choosing to watch one before it starts. Brands also can sponsor live content, which includes integrations into the programming.

Yes, but: These formats may be new to Netflix but not to the industry. Hulu and NBCUniversal's Peacock announced binge ads in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

What we're watching: McKee of FreeWheel suggested AI could assist with ad creative by helping smaller brands create traditional commercial spots and supporting other formats.

Go deeper