Vizio is getting a lot more aggressive with advertising, having announced a new feature called Jump Ads for its smart TV platform that will display banner ads over live TV shows.
Launching as a beta program, the first Vizio TV partner to test Jump Ads is Fox. The broadcaster will place Jump Ads at the end of the premier episode for its new docu-comedy Welcome to Flatch.
The Jump Ads will appear as banner that overlays the show, and it will prompt viewers to continue watching additional episodes of the program, or catch up on past episodes on the Fox Now app.
According to Vizio, this will allow viewersto "seamlessly extend their viewing experience with a single click of a button".
A step too far?
Vizio isn't the first TV manufacturer to redesign its smart TV platform to show ads more prominently.
Last year, LG was criticized for delivering autoplaying ads to users trying to update their streaming apps. More recently, Roku TV owners complained of banner ads being displayed over live TV broadcasts.
In the case of Roku TVs, users are able to disable these adds by tweaking their TV's settings and turning off their display's ability to 'Use info from TV inputs'. As PCMag pointed out at the time however, it's unclear whether disabling this setting will mean you lose out on other, more useful smart TV features.
It's not unusual for smart TV platforms to display ads on your home screen or main menu, but there certainly seems to be a growing trend for more aggressive advertising encroaching onto live broadcasts.
For some, the Jump Ads feature may be genuinely useful; in a study of 6,000 TV viewers, information technology consultant Accenture found that 60% considered the process of navigating between live TV, streaming apps, and different providers to be "very frustrating", with 44% saying they spent more than six minutes trying to find something they want to watch.
Streamlining the whole process could be a real help to anyone who finds it difficult to navigate the huge wealth of smart TV content available today. However, intrusive ads might be a step too far for some consumers, especially if they're being displayed over live broadcasts, which many would consider separate from the smart TV platform itself.
Furthermore, if these ads were targeted based on viewing habits or other personal data, questions about privacy would be rightly raised. We've come to expect our smartphones and Internet search engines to serve us up personalized ads, but our TVs? That may be a step too far.
Correction: April 7, 2022
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Vizio would have no control over the ads placed over content. VIZIO controls the advertising on its platform, and says that it "has no intentions of using this capability beyond its usefulness as a program extension".