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TV marketers push for more innovative ad formats

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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.

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