Advertisers Still Not Flocking to Video Streaming Sites

 Blog Post By: Samantha Haucke, Marketing Intern


I can’t remember the last time I saw a TV commercial on an actual TV. My lack of commercial watching is a result of the changes I’ve made in how I watch my favorite programs. No longer do I sit down at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday night and watch the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory. Instead, I use online video streaming to watch the episode when and where I want. I know I’m not the only person who does this either. So, what is a marketing department to do when not everyone is watching TV shows in the traditional way?

The simple answer is to advertise where their target audience is watching. Gone are the days when people can go to Hulu, YouTube, or Network TV websites like or and get away with not seeing any commercials. The difference between being subjected to ads through the TV and online video streaming sites is that there are fewer commercial breaks while watching a television episode through online video streaming than traditional TV. However, the commercial breaks that do happen on online video streaming sites are longer than traditional TV, and the sites often repeat the same commercials several times during a single episode. Basically, viewers have two choices:  a significant amount of shorter commercial breaks with a large variety of commercials or fewer commercial breaks that are longer and repetitive. 

While I enjoy using online video streaming, the one thing that drives me absolutely crazy is watching the same set of commercials three or four times during a single episode. Why does this happen with the majority of online video streaming sites? It happens because there aren’t enough advertisers who are utilizing this advertising medium. With costs of online video streaming advertising (on the more popular sites) being just as much if not more than prime-time TV, it is understandable that advertisers are reluctant to buy these advertising slots. In order to attract more advertisers, online video streaming sites have started to develop incentives for advertisers. Hulu, for example, recently extended a discount to advertisers who bundle their advertising on CBS’ prime-time TV with Hulu’s online video streaming. 

While more and more people are shifting their television viewing habits toward online video streaming, it is still far from being a go-to advertising medium. Even though the amount of viewers watching traditional TV is decreasing, the amount of money advertisers are spending on TV ads is projected to continue to increase through 2017. However, many advertisers targeting my generation may learn the hard way that their tactics are no longer communicating with current or potential customers.