Navigating the New Frontier of Paid Streaming

Ads on paid streaming


The good, the bad and the ugly

 You’re paying for it

 And still getting ads

 It’s good and bad. Depends who’s asking.

Let’s start by baselining that platforms such as Hulu and YouTube have been running ads as a part of their model for well over a decade. They offer premium subscriptions that disallow ads for a premium viewing experiences. That is now starting to change for other paid platforms.

The integration of ads into paid streaming services has ignited a mix of dissatisfaction and potential, signaling a significant change in the digital media sphere. Celebrated for their initial ad-free viewing experiences, giants like Amazon Prime and HBO Max have now embraced advertising, disrupting the core of what these subscriptions promised. This shift, perceived as a betrayal by subscribers, highlights the tension between traditional expectations and evolving business models. We all can likely agree, if it’s free, ads are accepatable. When paid, and to note the cost going up a dollar annually, it’s just greedy to double dip.

HOWEVER, this transition presents a unique opportunity for advertisers. The precision targeting offered by streaming platforms mirrors the sophisticated ad capabilities of social media giants, allowing for more impactful advertising strategies. This shift towards more interactive advertising, as Adweek notes, aims to transform ads from being a mere interruption to an engaging part of the viewer’s experience, thereby potentially changing the overall perception of ads​​. [“]

There has been less jarring blends of those two experiences. Take Hello Fresh’s campaign during a show on Hulu, where two friends are cooking and at each commercial break, they discuss what just happened in the show, like you would while cooking with company. Well executed. But the thing to think about, are the eyeballs that you can obtain for popular shows. It’s the perfect pairing of broadcast and digital.

The collaboration between Amazon Prime Video and IPG Mediabrands to integrate ads is a testament to the industry-wide move towards blending content with commercial opportunities, especially as platforms face the challenge of sustaining growth amid a competitive market​​. [“] 

The journey towards embedding ads within streaming services is complex, requiring a balance that respects viewer preferences while opening up new business models. This evolution towards a future where ads are seamlessly integrated into the streaming experience represents a potential win-win, aligning the interests of consumers and businesses alike.

In navigating the future of streaming, the integration of ads presents a complex narrative of adaptation and opportunity. Balancing viewer preferences with the innovative potential of advertising may just redefine our streaming experience. Unfortunately, people will only be able to take the power back if they start dropping those services, but the reality is that most of us wont and will somehow let it happen. And we already have.


Stay Inspired