Major TV networks are so terrfied of Netflix they are actually starting to show fewer adverts. Companies like Time Warner, Fox, and Viacom have begun to reverse the trend of trying to shove as many commercials in your face as possible.
They want to lure back younger viewers, who are increasingly spending their TV time on Netflix and Hulu, according to Bloomberg.
Time Warner, in particular, is an interesting case study.
On a recent earnings call, Time Warner’s CEO pledged to cut its “ad time” in half for primetime shows, starting next year, on its channel “truTV.” TruTV is a channel focused on reality programming, and marketed toward the younger viewers Time Warner is most scared of losing. This explains the drastic ad cut.
If this gambit works, Time Warner will extend the strategy to other channels like TBS, TNT, and CNN.
“We know one of the benefits of an ecosystem like Netflix is its lack of advertising,” Howard Shimmel, a chief research officer at Time Warner, told Bloomberg. “Consumers are being trained there are places they can go to avoid ads.” Once you get used to having no ads, the ones that still exist can become more and more grating.
Broad consumer opinion does seem to have shifted away from ads, not only with the continuing popularity of ad-free streaming services, but also with the rise of “ad blockers.”