It’s been over a year since we moved completely to watching TV using Amazon FireStick instead of DishTV. The reason for moving to, something which I think can be termed as on-demand TV, was (a) we don’t really watch much of conventional TV programs and (b) Netflix.
But eventually I realized that one major advantage of on-demand TV was binge watching even conventional TV with almost zero ads. Even ICC Cricket World Cup Matches or Wimbledon for that matter has at the most one ad in between breaks, which still gets annoying after some time because after every few minutes you have to watch the aunty give a death stare to the fat uncle for ordering motichoor laddoo on Swiggy.
Which brings me to the thought I had while watching the India Vs Bangladesh match, how long before this privilege of watching on-demand TV with next to zero ads is taken away from the viewers?
The population which is migrating from regular TV to on-demand TV is increasing by the day and this is reinforced by the fact that, at one time, over 11 million people were watching the world cup broadcast on Hotstar. This gain in popularity may be because
(a) people are losing patience to wait for their favorite series to come on air at a particular time on a certain day of the week or as we call it the advent of binge watching
(b) Internet prices are going down thanks to Jio and
(c) the awareness about products like FireStick or Apple TV or Google’s Chromecast is on the rise so much so that FireStick ads appear regularly during prime-time TV.
So, the privilege of watching TV sans ads may be short lived because in the era of DigitalMarketing the new age TV presents a huge opportunity for targeting the right audience and personalization. TV was one screen left which was not networked but now it is and what’s more, one has to log in to an account in order to watch one’s favorite programs. This not just makes it easier to collect data at the user level but also to personalize content and ads. This also means that the days for mass media ads on television may start seeing a decline very soon.
It is only a matter of time before you start seeing location-targeted ads telling you to rather enjoy the Cricket World Cup match or the Federer Vs Nadal clash with your friends at a Sports Bar in your neighborhood followed by an ad from Uber telling you about a discount coupon (psst the data collected will also tell the apps which sports you prefer to watch and that you prefer to take a cab rather than drive). Or may be you will see a retargeted ad from Amazon.com telling you that the 50% discount on the running shoes that you added to your cart this morning will run out in a few hours. Yes, remarketing ads, because remember you logged in to your Amazon account when you installed the FireStick.
This might sound easy but there are still several challenges like privacy policies and user consent to be dealt with before these ideas can be rolled out.
However the bottom line is east or west, ads will not leave you till you rest. In peace.