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Streamers fight for ultra-light ad loads.
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Morning Brew May 13, 2022

Marketing Brew

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It’s Friday the 13th. If you’re looking to embrace the cursed energy of the day, Shake Shack and Apotheke released burger- and fry-scented candles. Yum.

In today’s edition:

—Kelsey Sutton, Minda Smiley


Less is more

three TVs with Paramount+, Hulu, and Disney+ logos on them Francis Scialabba

The flashiest awards in streaming are the Emmys and the Oscars, but entertainment companies are fighting for another type of bragging rights: the least-disruptive advertising experience in the industry.

“Other platforms offer a formula for frustration,” Peter Blacker, EVP of global ad sales and partnerships at NBCUniversal, said during Peacock’s NewFronts presentation last week, in a dig at competitors. “Below-average content plus above-average glitching [and] sky-high ad loads equals rock-bottom consumer engagement.”

The alternative? Peacock is focused on having “one of the lowest [ad] loads in streaming,” Blacker said.

Big picture: Promising to be light on ads is an increasingly common refrain in media.

  • 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.
  • Peacock promised no more than five ads per hour. And the forthcoming ad-supported tier of Disney+, which is expected to debut later this year, will be “very thoughtful and mindful” about the number of ads, Disney CFO Christine McCarthy said earlier this year.

That means that light ad loads are the new normal for ad-supported subscription streaming services, where frustrating viewers with too many ads may translate to subscriber or viewership woes. 

“It’s obviously a balancing act between having ad yield as well as a growing subscriber base,” Kevin Weigand, director of US national video innovation at Dentsu, told Marketing Brew.

Click here to read how streaming services are coming up with ways to monetize their platforms without directly interrupting shows.—KS



Streaming stats, mid-2022 edition

Portlandia binge-watching Portlandia/IFC via Giphy

Another earnings season has come and gone, and that means we have another good look at how the biggest streaming services on the market stack up in terms of size.

If you haven’t been keeping score, don’t worry—that’s what we’re here for. Here’s the rundown:

  • Netflix, which is readying an ad-supported tier for as soon as the end of 2022, is still by far the biggest streamer on the market, with 221.6 million subscribers, although it reported a slight downturn in Q2.
  • Disney+ is shrinking Netflix’s lead as it prepares its own push into ads: the service reported 137.7 million global subscribers, adding 7.9 million new subs from the prior quarter.
  • In third place is HBO Max, which, combined with HBO, counted 76.8 million subscribers at the end of the quarter.
  • Disney-operated streamer Hulu had 45.6 million subscribers.
  • Coming in fifth: Paramount+, which counted 39.6 million subscribers. (Add Showtime and other Paramount-owned subscription services like BET+, though, and the company touted 62.4 million.)
  • Unscripted streamer Discovery+ counted 24 million subscribers at the end of the quarter.
  • ESPN+, also owned by Disney, had 22.3 million subscribers.
  • NBCUniversal-owned Peacock brought up the rear with 13 million paid subscribers, but the company said it had 28 million monthly active accounts on its service, which has a limited free ad-supported offering.

Not included in our rundown: Amazon Prime Video, which doesn’t break out figures individually (but said last year there were more than 200 million Amazon Prime subscribers globally), and Apple TV+, which is estimated to have about 25 million paid subscribers but doesn’t break out figures.

+1: This year’s NewFronts presentations were all about just how big streaming is getting—but marketers are still hand-wringing about measurement.—KS



Reach audiences where culture takes shape

Amazon Ads

When it comes to your brand’s reach with live-streaming audiences, you can huddle up with sports fans during Thursday Night Football on Prime Video, show up for streamers binge-watching their fave shows, or even connect with creative communities on Twitch.

Because with Amazon Ads, these engaged audiences can peep your campaigns while watching the content they love.

How well does it work? Take Twitch, for example: 52% of their monthly users are more likely to try brands promoted by their favorite streamers.

Amazon Ads can help place your brand alongside premium content, unlocking audiences and helping you turn their intrigue for sports, the latest must-watch drama, or live-streamed entertainment into actionable results.

Join these worlds here.


Young people are split on whether companies should have a public stance on abortion access

Protest in NYC. Sign says "Keep abortion legal" Dianna “Mick” McDougall,

We’ve covered how corporate America is responding (or, in most cases, not responding) to the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that could overturn Roe v. Wade.

But do people want companies speaking out and taking action on the matter? Our friends at Morning Brew recently tried to find out, polling more than 800 young people across the US.

  • 41% of respondents said companies should make public statements about abortion rights, while 33% said companies shouldn’t (26% said they weren’t sure.)
  • 52% of people who took the survey said private companies should cover the cost of travel for employees who need to leave their state to get an abortion. The remaining 48% said private companies shouldn’t.
  • The poll also asked people how important abortion access is when it comes to determining where they’ll live in the future: 30% said it’s “not important at all,” while 26% said it’s “very important.” The rest said it was either a little or somewhat important.

Click here to read the story on Morning Brew’s site.—MS



  • Twitter fired two execs yesterday and announced hiring freezes in light of the pending Musk deal (which may now be on hold).
  • Facebook has promised to end ad-targeting for things like politics and sexual orientation, but may not have followed through, according to The Markup.
  • Blue Apron is jumping back into “serious” marketing for the first time since 2018.
  • J.C. Penney has a new CMO.



Your customers to you: “Show us you care!” People like to feel the love, and your customers are no different. Customer retention is key to improving your margins and should be your No. 1 business KPI. But no stress! We’ve got your customer-retention game plan. Download Attentive’s Loyalty and Retention Playbook to access tools and tips to help you keep your customers happy—and turn ’em into repeat buyers.


French press Francis Scialabba

There are a lot of bad marketing tips out there. These aren’t those.

TikTok: The platform also released a new market insights tool to help you better understand your audience.

Tune in: Podcasters share what makes a successful intro.

Toxicity: Get ahead of employee burnout by addressing “toxic clients.”

What’s new with NewFronts: This is the first NewFront season without an accredited third-party measurement option, which isn’t exactly ideal for an industry that values accurate numbers. So, how are ad sales chiefs and media buyers approaching this challenge? Read all about it here.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.


Planning to job hunt this weekend? Be sure to check out 200+ new openings on the Marketing Brew Job Board!

Today’s featured openings:

See more jobs or post your job opportunities here.


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1. There’s gonna be one less lonely leprechaun.


Written by Kelsey Sutton, Katie Hicks, and Minda Smiley

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