A “Pause Ads” Feature Is Beginning To Show Up on Streaming Services Like Hulu, Peacock and Max





Watching tv and using remote control

Once upon a time, commercial breaks meant a race to grab a snack and a bathroom break as fast as possible before the show came back on. Needless to say, the ability to pause shows and movies on streaming services was a game-changer. 

Now, more streaming services are trying out showing an ad graphic when you pause a show or movie, according to Variety. Subscribers may have already seen “break” themed ad pop-ups for Procter & Gamble’s Charmin toilet paper, Hershey’s Kit Kat candy, and Berkshire Hataway’s Geico.

The “pause ads” appear a few seconds after the viewer pauses the program, but not each time. Variety said the pop-ups have appeared more frequently on Hulu since July, but other streamers like Peacock and Max are also trying them out. 

Over the last few years, a majority of streaming companies have been trying to maintain or achieve profitability amid rising production costs and rampant competition for subscriber dollars. Ad revenue has become a crucial piece of a company’s finances. Increasingly, platforms are examining different ways to get ads in front of their users.

“There are hundreds of millions of pauses, done for all the reasons we hit pause at any moment,” Josh Mattison, senior vice president of management and operations for Disney Advertising, told Variety. “We look at that as an opportunity for advertisers.”

To save money, more subscribers are opting for standalone free, ad-supported streaming services or cheaper “with ads” tiers of apps like Netflix or Max. In addition, revealed younger audiences have a higher tolerance for ads – sometimes watching the entire ad, or even buying a product they saw in a commercial. 

For example, YouTube – the go-to platform for Gen Z teens, according to the Precise Advertiser Report: Teens and Youth (PARTY) report – is in a prime spot to drive purchase power. In addition, the video-sharing platform has been working on how it presents ads to viewers and cracking down on ad blockers.

Have you seen “pause ads” while streaming a show or movie? Let us know in the comments. 

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