Remember when we had to watch commercials to watch TV? It’s coming to the whole internet.
We’ve gotten used to watching TV-style ads to gain access to our favorite content, but starting in 2017, the internet will be running TV commercials, blocking your online experience until you’ve watched them all and clicked a button that tells advertisers how much you enjoyed them.
The internet has been testing users’ tolerance to TV ads for some time, through pre-roll ads specific to, though certainly not well-targeted to, the content we want to watch.
On January 1st, 2017 you’ll have to watch a series of 30 and 60 second commercials that will interrupt your web activities for up to 5 minutes, depending on the popularity and viewership of the internet in that time slot.
“That means no Facebook, no YouTube, no news sites, no anything until you watch the ads.”
Retina technology will track eye movements so that if a user steps away from the screen or even glances in a different direction, the ad experience will stop, then start over when you return.
Eye identification technology will determine of you’ve shot yourself in the face and automatically alert friends via social media.
Pete O’Brien, a college student who participated in a consumer focus group in early 2016, was quoted as saying “This sucks.”
The new ad platform allows no way for viewers to DVR and “time shift” the content, but it does provide the opportunity for them to ask to view more ads.
According to an Internet spokeperson, this is good news for advertisers, who have been struggling to reach a very spread out online audience. Now even the illusive Netflix binge viewers and torrent users will be subject to commercials playing throughout their internet browsing.
Most marketing experts, including Brian Alexander, a marketing and PR executive with Supercool Creative Agency, believe that “inventory will be at a premium at the start, but as the idea of having to watch commercials before you can continue using the internet catches on, rates will drop as more ad space opens up.”
EDIT: The internet is currently testing a system that prevents people from viewing their alarm clocks, taking showers or driving to work until they’ve watched a few ads.