SYDNEY: The volume of ads and the frequency of their repetition have emerged as major irritations for consumers utilising catch-up TV services in Australia.

According to researcher Edentify's IPTV in Australia study, based on a quarterly survey with over 600 respondents, more than one third (36%) complained that there were too many ads on commercial catch-up services, even though one of the most-liked features was the fact that such services are free.

"They play the same ads all the time" was another common grumble, cited by a quarter of respondents.

Advertising was far ahead of gripes about content – just 16% felt there weren't enough programs to choose from – and technical matters – 16% mentioned streaming difficulty and 12% said the service crashed all the time.

"Anyone who has used those services knows the placement of those ads is the issue," said Dan Banyard, managing director at Edentify.

"The number of ads and the repeat of those same ads is having a detrimental impact on the content across the commercial catch up services," he told Mumbrella.

Consumers understand the commercial reality and the need for advertising, he added, but argued that "channels have to work harder with the way they target and avoid repeating things over and over again. It is pretty shocking."

Banyard reported that Edentify had also asked respondents who admitted to using Hulu via VPN and "advertising does not come up nearly as much".

The US streaming service offers viewers a choice on what they see and allows them to pay to see less advertising.

"Online has the ability to serve the right targeted ads – far more than broadcast – but perhaps they should do something crazy like less ads," said Banyard.

Seven in ten respondents liked the fact they didn't have to pay for commercial catch-up services, and half welcomed the opportunity to watch their favourite programs at a time that suited them.

Content quality (27%) came further down the list of likes, as did the ability to pause, fast forward and rewind programs (27%) and to watch programs on mobile devices (23%).

Data sourced from Mumbrella; additional content by Warc staff