Bundled Cable Deathwatch: Lost Viewers Force Nets to Increase Ads

AP Photo/Matt Rourke
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

On top of obnoxiously high prices, a big reason people (especially Millennials) are fleeing to Streaming, is the obnoxious number of commercials that disrupt/infect/pummel every cable television show. Nevertheless, in order to make up for declining viewership, desperate cable networks increased the number of quarter 4 ads.


Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger calls it “desperate,” and MoffettNathanson Research’s Michael Nathanson calls it “dangerous.” But both analysts, using data from TiVo, say this morning that the trend is unmistakable: Major TV network owners led by Viacom, A+E, and Discovery significantly increased the amount of prime time commercial minutes in their shows in Q4, helping to compensate for a decline in viewing.

It’s an important consideration for investors as they await media companies’ Q4 financial results — and views about whether digital platforms are beginning to siphon ad dollars from TV. Increasing clutter is short-sighted, Juenger says, because  “viewer engagement is certainly reduced” leaving buyers reaching the “brain-dead.” And that “doesn’t seem like an attractive audience target for many brands, except maybe certain infomercial products.”

Talk about a death spiral: In order to make up for lost viewers, network executives decide to make up the revenue with the very thing that is costing them customers: oppressive commercials.



John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC


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