Attention Ad Execs: What Will You Do To Combat ADxiety

Posted by: David Kiley on March 7, 2008

There is a new word I’m hearing among advertising and media executives: Adxiety.

Adxiety refers to how a TV viewer feels when they are watching ad-laden TV programs live after they have developed the habit of time-shifting their programs with digital-video-recorder in order to fast-forward through the ads.

People I know who are old hands at time-shifting say they have made it as normal a part of their lives as, say, checking e-mail while on the phone. More than that, many, indeed, tell me of feeling anxious and stressed if they are watching a live TV program and don’t have the power to blast through useless commercials. This would come to pass when their spouse or partner was watching something live, or of they are watching a live sporting event. “I get no pleasure from watching live TV any more,” says one DVR addict. I’d have to go along with that. It’s hard to enjoy even a football game, let alone an episode of House, when you are aware of how much time you are wasting. Flip to another channel during the ad break? Nope. Too many cable stations and networks time their commercial breaks at the same time. Last night, I was watching Countdown on MSNBC. The ad break came, and I flipped over to Fox. The very same ad for Hughes Network was running on the two channels. They know.

Time is so precious. Watching live ad-supported TV has become like waiting in line at the bank or being stuck in traffic without a cell-phone to at least get some things done while you wait.

So…I beat the system. I taped the remainder of Countdown and the remainder of the Fox program. I left to go through my mail, and make my next moves on Scrabulous. After that was done, I returned to the TV and watched the remiander of the programs ad free. Then, if you want to know all my media habits, I read my new Car & Driver. Ask me if I recall any of the ad in C&D? I do not. Sorry. The state of print advertising today is worse than the state of TV advertising.

The Council for Research Excellence has commissioned a $3.5 million study that will, among other things study time-shifted video viewing, as well as multi-tasked video watching. The council is an independent forum of research experts created and funded by the Nielsen Co. Advertisers are anxious to get as much hard data about the effectiveness of their TV ad dollars as possible.

DVRs aren’t going away. And their growth is assured. ccording to Magna Global, about 42.9 million households will subscribe to a DVR by the end of 2012, representing about 36.5% of TV households.

Reader Comments

Bob G

March 8, 2008 4:13 PM

Whew - I'm not the only one who feels this way. Once you've tasted the freedom of TV viewing without ads it is impossible to go back.

It will take people time to get used to this lifestyle and technology (household penetration is just the start), but one by one people will go ad-free.

We (ad execs) had better get used to it and move to something superior now.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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