Watching commercials in the new media environment

I recently went on a cord-cutting adventure, canceling my Cox cable TV, but keeping the internet. I couldn’t justify the $250+ per month anymore, I never used my HD DVR, much less TWO HD DVRs. So I canceled all that and signed up for Hulu Plus (I had an existing streaming only Netflix account).

The weirdest thing thus far has been the commercials. Hulu is a subscription service that has commercials. Odd, right? They’re shorter-form spots in general, often under thirty seconds. Capital One has a spot featuring Alec Baldwin where he, in a way, acknowledges you’re watching a streaming show.

The biggest issue as a television watcher surprised me, though: they don’t have a large variety of commercials. I don’t know if they’re targeted and I’m not a popular target (although white guy, 35-55, etc, seems pretty solid as a demo target), or if their ad space is not much in demand, I didn’t bother to look into that. But they have pretty much the same 10 or 15 spots over and over.

One thing that occurs to me is that there’s no “local” ads on streaming services, at least the ones I’ve watched. With Cox or Time Warner you have a mix of national, regional, and local spots filling ad time. With streaming so far I only see a broad national lineup. I’m sure that will change in time…isn’t that the whole point of online services, from a marketing/advertising point of view: the ability to effectively target your efforts?

The whole streaming media environment is massively fractured and spread out right now, and honestly I don’t see that changing. You don’t need a huge percentage of users to make a profitable venture, given the falling production costs. Content is going to be king, like usual. The delivery mode is going to switch dramatically, and constantly. Personally I like it. This fevered, inventive, breakneck landscape is more exciting and energizing than the torpid cable/antenna monopoly I grew up with. The more the merrier!