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Ads Before/After Shows Purchased Online: Necessary or Overkill?

Archer FXWe understand that networks, cable companies, etc., are struggling to keep up with the rapidly evolving world of online video. Viewers are increasingly demanding that their favorite shows be available to watch whenever and wherever they want, redefining make-or-break factors like ratings and advertising.

So we don’t really mind watching ads while streaming videos on sites like Hulu, as long as it means we don’t have to miss trivia night at the local bar in order to catch the next episode of The Following.

But when we purchase an episode via Amazon or iTunes, our expectations, it seems, are entirely different.

After watching a recently purchased episode of Archer (an FX show) via our boyfriend’s Amazon account, we noticed that fellow fans had given it a surprisingly low rating. Curious, we read through the comments section only to find that every single negative comment concerned the ads for other FX shows that preceded the video.

Here are a few of the angrier comments:

“I pay for these shows to NOT watch COMMERCIALS! If this is going to continue what the hell is the point of streaming video on demand. People are moving away from cable because the continually try to stuff in more advertising.”

“So the show is funny as always (not peak Archer, but still great – let’s say 4.5 stars), but there’s a 15 second ad at the beginning and more at the end. My wife and I purchased this and there was no warning that we were paying for advertising. Lame, I expect to get the show and nothing else when I purchase.”

“…FX and Amazon, please don’t give me second thoughts about spending money to watch your show. Ads = second thoughts.”

From what we understand, all episodes of FOX/FX shows purchased online now come with a few short ads promoting other shows on the network. So is this the new way of doing things, or will fans make a big stink about it? People got upset when FOX decided not to make episodes of their shows available for online viewing until 8 days after the initial air date, but millions still watch these shows (both live and online).

On the other hand, the angry viewers have something of a point: they expect ads when streaming an episode for free, but when they buy a video, they’ve already paid for the content. Why should they be charged coming and going?

Not everyone is up in arms about these ads. Here’s another comment from that same Archer episode:

“Comercials at the beginning of the show was an inconvenient surprise…but it is LITERALLY 15 seconds!! Get over it!!”

Can networks ever find a truly perfect balance between turning a profit and pleasing customers, or will someone always complain?

Do you agree with the angry commenters, or are you more inclined to back the “get over it” sentiment? Should networks respond or does this story amount to no big deal?

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