Do People Watch TV Commercials?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

When asked, most of us confidently claim that we hate television commercials and skip them if we can. Research also seems to suggest that, while some people with the ability or technology to skip ads do so, others watch commercials even then.

So it is clear that people actually do watch television advertising. The next big question is why?

  • Advertisers understand that people nowadays can simply change channels by the click of a button, so the content and quality of commercials have to improve to keep the attention of the audience. The American Super Bowl actually attracts people to view the program due to the commercials. They are seen as the most viewed commercials in television history.

  • People mind television ads a lot less if they can choose which ads to watch.

  • Although some people may not like to watch commercials, they do so so they don’t have to change the channel and interrupt watching their program.

  • Viewers do like to take breaks from the television; for example, to pour drinks, fetch snacks or to chat. The commercial breaks are ideal periods for these activities, which means that people do see many of the ads, even while doing something else.

  • Viewers used to find that commercial breaks made television viewing too wasteful; for example, sitting for a whole hour to watch a 44 minute show. But nowadays they sit with their smart phones, they text and tweet and spend time on Facebook during the breaks. In fact, tweeting circles have become quite popular, where friends watch the same show in their respective homes while discussing their thoughts of via social media streams. Commercial breaks have thus become somewhat more bearable.

  • Commercials can be useful to introduce us to new products, and help us stay in our consumer mentality.

  • For many people television watching is a vegetative process. They do not want to sit with remote controls in their hands, ready to jump to different channels when commercial breaks start, so they lay back and enjoy to be entertained by all the commercials.

Even with all the new 21st century technologies, television advertising is thus still viable.

So how about you? How do you feel about TV commercials? Do you watch them or skip them?