Hulu and AT&T Will Run Ads When You Pause Streaming Content

Two of the best features of streaming video are the ability to pause content whenever you like and the lack of advertisements in many streaming services. The absence of ads or commercials is one of the biggest reasons why many subscribers cut the cable and subscribe to streaming services in the first place, but two of the biggest names in streaming are finding ways to get ads in your eyes no matter what. According to a recent report by Variety, both DIRECTV NOW and Hulu are planning on launching ads that will play whenever you pause streaming content.

Since most paid streaming services do not place advertisements in the middle of their programming, finding avenues for advertising is more difficult. Streaming services rely on advertising revenue just like any other media service, after all. Thus, Hulu and AT&T, who owns DIRECTV NOW and UVerse, are looking to leverage subscribers’ new modes of consuming video in order to find creative ways to place ads. That’s where the pause time ads come in. “As binge-viewing happens more and more, it’s natural they are going to want to pause,” Jeremy Helfand, Hulu’s vice president and head of advertising, told Variety.

AT&T is looking at a new type of advertising technology that runs a full-motion video whenever users pause. “We know you’re going to capture 100% viewability when they pause and unpause,” says Matt Van Houten, vice president of product at Xandr Media, AT&T’s advertising division. “There’s a lot of value in that experience.”

While it’s inevitable that streaming services would have to start relying on advertising more as the market expands and subscribers spread out to the numerous new streaming services popping up, I just have to wonder: will streaming simply become the ‘new’ cable? With more ads appearing and prices steadily climbing little by little each year, what will be the difference?