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Poor and lengthy ads turn viewers off

News, 30 November 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: TV broadcasters who air too many ad breaks and advertisers who deliver poor quality, irrelevant content should take some responsibility for the rise of piracy and ad blocking, a senior Facebook executive has said.

Speaking at the Malaysian Media Conference, Neil Stewart, head of agency at Facebook APAC, accused the industry of failing to balance its commercial interests with what consumers are prepared to tolerate.

He said that instead of complaining about ad blocking and the challenge posed by piracy and OTT streaming services, broadcasters and advertisers should recognise they are bringing these problems on themselves, Mumbrella reported.

Stewart highlighted India and Indonesia as two countries in the region where ad breaks run too long, so encouraging viewers to switch to other channels, even pirated content sites.

"A 90-minute Bollywood film should not take four hours to watch," he said. "In most countries, you have enough time to make a cup of tea during the commercial break. In Indonesia, you could make a three-course meal."

Poorly considered digital marketing campaigns that deliver irrelevant content and errant retargeting also came in for criticism from Stewart, who said it was no wonder that consumers turned to ad blockers to avoid them.

"Yes, you could argue that it's a tech issue. But it's not. It's an industry issue," he said. "We have a responsibility to change the way we do things to reflect the way things have changed over the last decade."

The general standard of mobile ad creative was not helping to dissuade consumers from installing ad blockers, he continued.

"No longer can you resize a banner and put it on mobile. It's not acceptable, and it won't work," he said. "If the ads were great and entertaining, no one would block them."

Data sourced from Mumbrella; additional content by Warc staff