PBS vs Streaming: Effects of unskippable ads on brand perception

Explore the impact of unskippable ads and ad placement on viewer engagement and brand perception in the streaming landscape.
Three people are sitting on a couch watching a TV program titled "Raymond James Legacy Planning." One person on the left is holding a bowl of snacks. The room has a cozy, modern decor with a bookshelf, plants, and a window in the background.

As the streaming landscape evolves, the impact of unskippable ads and alternative pricing models in ad-supported streaming has raised questions about viewer engagement and satisfaction. Brands need to consider factors like ad placement within a program and viewer options to skip ads when making their ad buying decisions in order to avoid negative viewer perceptions and increase brand recall. Read on to discover the best advertising environments for maximizing brand exposure, recall, and maintaining a positive reputation.

Negative Effects of Unskippable Ads on Viewers

Free ad-supported streaming platforms, such as Tubi and Pluto TV, include unskippable commercials within their content. While this ensures viewers watch the ads, it can frustrate and disengage them, leading to negative brand perception.  In fact, 76% of consumers have a negative perception of advertisers whose ads are disruptive.* This raises concerns about alienating viewers, leading to a potential loss of audience and revenue. And leaving a good impression on your potential customers matters. Viewers who do feel positive about their ad experience are 61% more likely to purchase advertised products, compared to those with a negative experience.**

Advertising Impact of Streaming Pricing Models

To address viewer frustration with unskippable ads, streaming services have introduced alternative pricing models.  For instance, platforms like Hulu and YouTube TV, offer ad-free subscriptions at higher prices and cater to viewers who prefer uninterrupted experiences. However, this means a portion of the streamer’s audience won’t be served your ads. 

Striking the Right Balance: Premium Ad Placement on PBS

PBS maintains a non-commercial environment by having just one sponsor pod at the beginning of each program for videos on the PBS app and PBS website and limiting spots in that pod to a maximum of two, non-competing brands. Research suggests that viewers appreciate these brief and unobtrusive ads, with 85% of PBS viewers saying they appreciate PBS’s clutter-free, non-commercial environment.*** Additionally,  PBS viewers are 29% more likely to remember the companies that sponsor PBS than those that advertise on streaming platforms.*** In contrast, 61% of streaming VOD viewers say, “it’s impossible to remember the companies that advertise on streaming VOD because there are so many commercial interruptions during each program.”*** PBS’s approach effectively reaches your target audience without alienating viewers or compromising their enjoyment.

As the streaming landscape continues to evolve, it is crucial for platforms to strike the right balance between advertising saturation and viewer satisfaction to maintain a healthy brand reputation. When considering advertising on platforms with unskippable ad pods, brands should consider the placement of these pods within the program. Non-interruptive pod positions, like on PBS, demonstrate a successful advertising model that resonates positively with viewers.

Contact us to learn more on how PBS’s corporate sponsorship packages can benefit your brand. 


*Wunderkind’s Kindness In Advertising report, **Kantar HACK TO THE FUTURE Understanding viewers’ attitudes and preferences to overcome ad avoidance study, ***Kantar | SGPTV,  US Video Audience Insights 2023


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