If there’s a German word for the pleasure felt when all your detractors are finally thronging around you, then Joe Marchese is probably feeling it right now.

The video ad-tech firm has spent the last few years trying to popularize technology that helps consumers see fewer ads in digital video when they engage with an initial interactive commercial – often met by raised eyebrows.

Whilst allowing viewers to eliminate the majority of ads may seem like a recipe for lost revenue, finally, in 2018, broadcast networks are racing to reduce their ad load, ad length or commercial pod duration in response to growing consumer resistance to interruptive ad formats.

“The idea that a better viewer experience and a better advertiser environment are not in conflict,” says Marchese, who founded the company and later sold it to Fox, in this Beet Retreat fireside with Rob Norman.

Operators like Turner, Fox and NBCUniversal have been experimenting with reducing the size of their ads, as more viewers flock to ad-free subscription video on demand.

But, whilst fewer ads may delight viewers, won’t fewer ads mean fewer dollars for broadcasters?

Marchese says he is still “working on” developing the metrics that show advertisers who high-engagement ads in a low-load environment can drive better outcomes. But some things he knows instinctively.

“Just by having less ads on a night and less commercial messages, you can make the ads that you do have more effective to your audience because they’re not confusing as many commercial messages,” he says.

Marchese says plenty is still in flux and plenty yet to be worked out.

But there is something he knows for sure: “Engagement is just proof of attention. The only currency is attention.”

This fireside was anchored by Rob Norman.

This video was produced at the Beet Retreat in City & Town Hall on June 6, 2018 in New York City. The event and video series are presented by LiveRamp, TiVo, true[X] and 605. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.