Watch YouTube on your TV? Unskippable ads will soon get a lot worse

A TV screen on a blue background showing the YouTube homepage
(Image credit: Google)

If you regularly watch YouTube on a smart TV or one of the best streaming devices, you may have noticed the adverts getting longer and more persistent – and unfortunately they could soon get even worse.

A new post from YouTube Ads Marketing has revealed that YouTube is planning to boost adverts on CTV (which stands for connected TV) in two ways. Firstly, it says "we’re bringing 30 second non-skips [adverts] to YouTube Select on CTV". 

YouTube Select is an advertising system that serves ads against the video streamer's most popular channels, so these ads may not hit everything you watch, but they could replace the consecutive 15-second ad slots you already see.

More troubling, though, is the announcement that YouTube is "bringing new Pause experiences to CTV". This means you could soon see adverts appear even when you pause a video, with YouTube promising advertisers that the experience will be "seamless for viewers and allows them to learn more about your brand".

An example of a YouTube pause video advert

An example of a paused video advert on YouTube (via AdWeek).  (Image credit: AdWeek)

According to an image picked up by Adweek (above), your paused video will simply shrink and the advert will appear in a box alongside it. But there does at least appear to be a 'dismiss' option to get rid of it.

Clearly, in a financially tough year, Google sees YouTube advertising as a reliable cash cow, and it's easy to see why. As the YouTube post claims, according to a recent Nielsen Gauge Report on TV viewership, viewership on the video streaming service increased last month and YouTube is now the most-watched TV streaming service in North America.

It isn't yet clear exactly when YouTube's 30-second unskippable and pause ads will roll out, but you can expect to see them soon on both smart TV and streaming boxes such as the Apple TV 4K and Amazon Fire TV Stick, which are traditionally included under the 'CTV' umbrella.

Analysis: Time to switch to YouTube Premium?

A laptop screen showing the YouTube Premium family plan page

(Image credit: Future)

Cranking up the advertising dial in YouTube is a simple win-win for Google – either viewers are forced to watch more adverts, or they're convinced to switch to YouTube Premium ($11.99 / £11.99 / AU$22.99 p/month) to avoid them.

YouTube Premium does bring other benefits beyond an ad-free experience – you also get background play (allowing you to use YouTube while using other apps or when the screen is locked) and access to YouTube Music Premium (a Spotify alternative that has a desktop app and offline listening on mobile).

Of course, YouTube Premium is also a hefty monthly outlay in trying financial times, but Google has also recently started cracking down on YouTube ad-blockers to stop those who are trying to get a free ride. A new popup has given YouTubers the option of disabling the ad-blocker or, yes, buying a subscription to YouTube Premium.

While adverts are understandable on a free service, Google is certainly pushing YouTube viewer patience to the limit, with some experiments seeing users get as many as 10 unskippable adverts in a row on some videos. Unfortunately, it looks like that's going to continue, unless you switch to YouTube Premium.

Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.