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YouTube is excited about pause screen ads — and they’re coming for your TV first

YouTube is excited about pause screen ads — and they’re coming for your TV first

Prepare to see more ads on YouTube, even when you hit pause.

YouTube has been piloting an experience with smart TVs that shows ads when you pause playback, and according to Google, it has been seeing favorable results from the trial.

“In Q1, we saw strong traction from the introduction of a pause ads pilot on connected TVs, a new non-interruptive ad format that appears when users pause their organic content,” said Google’s Philipp Schindler on Alphabet’s latest earnings call (via Android Authority).

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Since the execs are happy with advertiser demand from the experiment, YouTube viewers might be in for widespread rollout of pause ads, starting with smart TVs first.

If YouTube does implement pause ads, it would fall in line with what other streaming platforms like Hulu, Max, and Peacock have already done. Leaving no monetizable stone unturned, they’ve capitalized on viewers’ eventual need to pause for a bathroom or snack break, often with a winky ad for something like Coke (“pause that refreshes”) or toilet paper from Charmin.

YouTube has become more aggressive about advertising, making ads unskippable on YouTube TV and cracking down on free account holders using ad blockers. Much like the “calculated misery” approach employed by airlines, the effect might push viewers to sign up for their premium ad-free tier which costs $13.99 a month.

That said, pause ads are the least invasive of the bunch if you’re pausing to get up for a bathroom break or answer the door anyway. Ultimately, the days of ad-free streaming are long gone, so it’s what we can expect from 30-billion dollar company just trying to make a little bit more.

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