It is a country with some of the longest linear TV ad load in the world, how can new US streaming services keep viewers engaged?

Huda Kazi wants to lighten the load.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Kazi, VP of Ad Technology & Operations at Warner Bros. Discovery, emphasizes the importance of compelling content and seamless user experience in driving streaming success.

Light and relevant ad experiences

As ad-supported video continues to grow, Kazi explains that Warner Bros. Discovery aims to deliver a light ad experience that is minimally disruptive. “We’re averaging three to four minutes per pod with the intention of … we’re going put the ads in there, they’re not going to be hugely disruptive,” she says.

Kazi also discusses various strategies to make the ad experience more seamless for users, including front-loading ads at the beginning of content or displaying ads during pause breaks.

She says, “We are constantly thinking about how do we provide a better experience for our customers?”

Lighten the load

With SVoD subscriptions slowing down, consumer spending tightening and advertisers, buoyed by connected TV’s capabilities, coming back into the market, many ad-supported streaming TV services could be tempted to make hay while the sun is shining, stuffing the services with more ads.

But the ad aversion which drove many consumers to SVoD has not necessarily disappeared.

Kazi, who has held senior positions at several broadcasters and technology divisions after starting on the software development side, stresses the importance of ad relevance to both the content and the user. She believes that users don’t necessarily have a problem with advertising—it’s when ads go on too long or are irrelevant that they become an issue.

“Within the bounds of what we can do without being intrusive into people’s lives, we are going to try and find a way to drive advertising that is relevant to the consumer,” she says.

MarketingBrew reported in 2022 on the approach used by companies now in the combined Warner Bros. Discovery umbrella:

“When HBO Max debuted a year ago, then-ad sales chief JP Colaco promised a “best-in-class” ad load of no more than four minutes per hour, while Discovery+ has championed its own “ad-light” product that has around four minutes per hour.”

Services are trying a variety of manifestations of “lighter ad load” promises. In the UK, Channel 4 is testing out fewer ads from a single brand.

Non-disruptive ads and faster transactions

But, for Kazi, consumers’ ad experience is about more than just duration.

“When you hit play, we want you to get to content as quickly as possible, so how do we make that ad transaction as fast as possible?”,” she says.

Complementarity is also key. She provides an example of Mercedes’ custom sponsorship with the show Succession.

“That title and that brand, they work really well together. There’s a lot of synergy there,” she says.

“We also want to make our app experience a place where users will want to stay once they’ve finished that compelling content.”

You’re watching “The TV Upfronts in Transition,” a Beet.TV Leadership Series presented by AudienceXpress. For more videos from this series, please visit this page.