For decades, advertisers fought to place their 20- or 30-second TV ads in coveted time slots. And viewers didn't necessarily mind the commercials; some were funny or interesting, and the regular program breaks allowed you to get up and grab a snack or hit the restroom. But today, traditional television ads aren't cutting it.
Many viewers record shows, in part so they can fast-forward through the commercials. In the U.K., one study showed 60 percent of viewers took the time to find and download TV shows specifically to avoid the ads. But it's not simply ad-avoidance at work. The time spent watching TV by those aged 18 to 24 — one of marketers' target audiences — fell by 90 minutes per day from 2011 to 2016. And some experts opine that by 2020, this group will be watching the boob tube less than two hours each day. Even the older generations aren't watching as much television as they did in the past [source: Media Kix].
Media gurus say those still tuning in will likely be treated to very different types of advertising in the future. Already, companies have been paying shows to incorporate their brands into various episodes — the hit TV show "Empire" had a character working on a commercial for Pepsi. That will continue in the future, along with innumerable other possibilities, such as seconds-long and minutes-long ads, or video vignettes related to a particular show. Stay tuned [sources: Steinberg].