If you’re sick of ads interrupting your viewing experience every time you stream TV shows online, here’s some bad news for you: They’re not going to go away anytime soon.
“We actually make more money per viewer streaming than we do on television, ” CBS Corporation’s chief research officer David F. Poltrack revealed at the 2014 Media & Entertainment Industry Forum in New York. “If you stream our programming online, you’re seeing a full complement of advertising—you can’t bypass it.”
Poltrack estimates that CBS, which streams shows like The Big Bang Theory and The Good Wife on the web, makes somewhere between 10 and 20 percent more ad revenue per viewer online than on television, and expects that number to increase. “Demand for our online video is through the roof, ” he explained. It helps that, according to studies commissioned by CBS, viewers are actually watching more television than they used to; it’s just that more and more of it is being watched online, versus through traditional TV. (In a December 2013 study for CBS, 28 percent of those asked said they were watching more TV compared to just 17 percent who said they were watching less; 55 percent reported it was roughly the same.)
This doesn’t mean that traditional TV advertising is soon to be a thing of the past; ad spending on television is expected to continue to grow this year, and it still dwarves digital video ad spending 10-to-one. But for now, you can be confident that each and every time you have to watch Samuel L. Jackson ask what’s in your wallet, you’re doing your bit—however reluctantly—to help programmers slip into (and monetize) the digital future.