What’s up with no commercials when you stream?

Andy Uhler May 23, 2016
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Streams like this often don't have as many commercials as the broadcast, or any at all. Screenshot/ESPN.com

What’s up with no commercials when you stream?

Andy Uhler May 23, 2016
Streams like this often don't have as many commercials as the broadcast, or any at all. Screenshot/ESPN.com
HTML EMBED:
COPY

If you’ve ever watched a live sporting event online, you might notice something different about the commercial breaks. That is, sometimes there just aren’t any commercials. Just music, like you’re on hold.

ESPN, Turner Broadcasting and some online-only media people said there’s a lot going on here. Craig McAnsh, chief marketing officer at Infrared Experience Marketing, said things are changing fast, but marketing hasn’t caught up.

“What’s happening is this streaming and over-the-top broadcasting is not in sync with the way cable and broadcasters are set up from a commercial standpoint,” he said.

On cable, some time is allocated to local markets. When there’s a break in the game, ESPN or TNT throws to a local commercial. But, the internet doesn’t have a local market.

“If you think about it, ESPN is a store in a mall and the mall is a cable carrier,” he said. “And because it’s a fast-changing world, there hasn’t been anything that’s been set up for most of these broadcasts.”

Why you’re not seeing commercials during sports broadcasting could have to do with rights management.  Mickey Wilson, chief marketing officer with WideOrbit, said until now, the only rights that needed to be allocated were for the broadcast.

“Today a lot of content is being consumed mobily,” she said. “So those rights are being negotiated separately. So in some cases, ESPN may not have the rights to actually stream it or monetize it.”

In other words, ESPN might not have negotiated the rights to stream those same commercials it airs on television. So, that could be why you’re seeing that blank slate when your team calls a time out.

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