More Media, Fewer Ads For Consumers
For centuries the consumption of media has gone hand in hand with ad exposure. From newspapers, to TV and radio, and now digital, there’s been an unwritten bargain that consumers will tolerate ads within media content they want to consume. But according to a new study from PQ Media, the consumption of media is slowly becoming detached from ad exposure.
First the numbers. PQ is forecasting total media consumption to increase to 51.6 hours per week, which is up 1.3% YoY. In contrast the percent of media time which contains ads is dropping – now down to 65.9% of total media time. In other words, over 1/3 of the media we consume no longer contains ads.
The culprit for this disconnect is of course subscription-based media platforms. We’re now more likely than ever to pay for our content in an ad-free environment. This is the case with most of the OTT video services like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon TV and Apple TV. Same with audio streamers like Apple Music, Amazon, and about half of Spotify’s usage.
This trend towards a commercial-less subscription environment is creating a paradox in the ad industry. On one hand there are fewer ads, which seems like a net positive for consumers. But on the other hand marketers still need to buy ads to brand and sell products. So advertisers are being forced to compete for a smaller supply of ads to reach fewer addressable consumers. This is one of the reasons why ad prices (even for network TV whose ratings are in a free fall) continue to go up.
Crazy times to be in media, for sure.