TV ad pod strategies explored in new FreeWheel/Mediascience report


A new report, Designing a Better Ad Pod, explores how publishers can optimise the quantity and frequency of ads in an ad pod to improve viewer experience and brand results.

The report by FreeWheel, a global technology platform for the television advertising industry, contains new findings from its Viewer Experience Lab initiative.

The new findings come at a time when content continues to fragment across streaming platforms, making it imperative for content owners to focus on improving the ad experience to maintain viewers’ attention and favourability.

Developed in partnership with MediaScience, this is the first research of its kind to provide insights on how to best optimise ad pods.

“When we launched this initiative at Cannes, we committed to driving it forward through research and innovation in order to understand how consumers feel and react to ads and how we can improve their overall viewing experience,” said Mark McKee, General Manager, FreeWheel.

“With so much choice for consumers on how and where they engage with content, it’s more important than ever that platforms prioritise the viewer.

“This research provides practical considerations for publishers to make the ad experience better and limit subscription churn, while giving brands the best environment to connect with viewers.”

In the study, 700 viewers participated in at-home or in-lab viewing environments and were shown programming with varied ad pod lengths, ad durations and frequency.

They were then surveyed in real-time to understand their perception of the ad experience and test their recall of ads within the content.

The FreeWheel Viewer Experience Lab and MediaScience then analysed their responses to create a report that provides research-backed insights that can be used to design optimal ad pods and a positive viewer experience:

  • Pod Length: Ad breaks of two minutes or less can improve brand impact and ad experience.
  • Pod Architecture: Grouping consistent ad lengths within individual pods can improve ad sentiment and make breaks feel shorter.
  • Frequency: Capping the frequency of each ad at two to three per program can positively impact ad recognition and brand purchase intent.

“This is ground-breaking research that empowers media planners to best capitalise on their investment,” said Dr. Duane Varan, CEO, MediaScience.

“By applying a research-based approach to a common-sense problem, the findings finally give due regard to key characteristics of the ad pod, while also optimising the ad environment for viewers. It’s win-win all around.”

Designing a Better Ad Pod is part of ongoing research from FreeWheel to help the TV industry improve the ad environment for viewers across all premium video platforms.

The goal of the Viewer Experience Lab is to educate the industry and inspire innovation to address this important and complex topic.

Further custom research studies across the other core areas, Quality and Relevance, are expected to launch later in 2024.